Student Safety Top of Mind For Area Schools

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The safety of students is on the minds of many school officials in the area after police say a Fayetteville junior high student had a loaded gun in his backpack on campus Wednesday (Sept. 25)

School districts across the region are taking different steps to make sure students are safe.

Security cameras and key swipe entry cards were installed at Bentonville schools this summer.

One thing that most schools in our area are doing is restricting access points into schools.

“That’s probably one of the biggest things clear back from Columbine, the first school incident that schools have taken measures to try to prevent access from a lot of different places, even our new buildings our more limited that in terms of the number of doors and so forth,” said Michael Poore, Bentonville School District Superintendent.

29 schools in Springdale protected by school resource officers and locked doors at every school.

“There is an entry system that you have to buzz to get in, there is a camera that you look right into and so they can see who`s at the door,” said Rick Schaeffer, Springdale Schools Communications Director.

Fayetteville has 14 campuses with armed school resource officers and limits access into schools.

“We also have panic buttons that we can lock down the front doors so you can’t get in or out,” said Alan Wilbourn, Fayetteville Schools Public Information Officer.

The incident at Sandy Hook last December really focused national attention on security.

“Even though safety is always your number one concern, I think that incident certainly heightened awareness for everyone in the country,” added Schaeffer.

The use of cell phones also becoming a big part in protecting students.

“Particularly with smart phones, the information can spread lightning fast, so we can get information to everyone, the community, to media, to whoever needs to know within a matter of seconds,” said Wilbourn.

Each district that 5NEWS spoke with said improving school safety is a topic that's frequently discussed.

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