$250K OK’d to boost school security

CHARLES TOWN – The Jefferson County Board of Education voted unanimously this week to spend $250,000 on new security measures for the county’s schools.

Assistant Superintendent Ralph Dinges said the funds will pay for “enhanced door locks, fences and other measures to increase security.”

“We don’t want to be real specific with what it is, because all of these things are considered critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security,” he said. “All schools will get some enhanced security.”

Dinges said the school system has been continually upgrading its security over the last five years, and that the move was not a reaction to the school shooting in December in Newtown, Conn.

“Of course, the Newtown tragedy had a bearing on everybody’s understanding of security, but all of these have been part of a security plan we have had for the last five years, and we have been enhancing every year,” Dinges said. “In the last five years we have spent over $1 million on security.”

Dinges said county schools have been increasing the number of security drills, including “code red” drills which simulate an “active shooter” situation, over the last few years. He added that local schools will begin requiring all individuals other than school personnel to begin entering and exiting through the front door only, following recommendations by the Department of Homeland Security and other school security experts.

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