Shawnee Mission School District spends $20 million to improve security at schools

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- The Shawnee Mission School District say it has new technology installed at all of its schools, designed to make them among the safest in the nation.

The upgrades are part of a $200-million bond issue approved by voters last year.

$20-million has been spent on improved security for the schools, much of that on technology which helps keep intruders out, and watches over nearly everything that's happening inside.

There are between 100 and 125 digital cameras at every high school now, and between 30 and 40 cameras watching over each elementary school.

They're monitored at control centers, including one at Shawnee Mission Northwest, where security also is notified when an alarm sounds if a door is being propped open or left unlocked.

"We learned from Newtown, Conn., and other places," said John Douglass, Shawnee Mission security chief. "The faster the police can get to the problem, the more lives are saved."

Also new this semester, all high schoolers must show their school identification to get into the building. Those who don't are sent to an administrator before they can go to class. Visitors must show a photo ID, which is scanned, so the school has a record of everyone in their building.

Superintendent Jim Hinson says safety and security has been a top concern among parents in the district, and now that Shawnee Mission has some the newest, cutting edge measures in place, it may become a model for other districts to follow.

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