PHM school district makes $2 million in security upgrades - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

PHM school district makes $2 million in security upgrades

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It's the final week of fun for many students in Michiana and parents are taking advantage of what's left of summer break.

"Last hurrah!" says South Bend parent Elizabeth Drake who is with her kids at the splash pad.

Another South Bend parent at the park, Adrian Swanson says, "Having a little bit of fun time out here."

Parents FOX28 talked to say they won't be worried about their kids' safety when they send them back to school next week.

"There were a couple of things that happened last year, security-wise, but given that they're going to Kennedy, I think they'll be ok though," says Swanson.

Drake says, "No, I'm sure they'll be great. They'll be just fine."

Superintendent of Penn Harris Madison schools, Dr. Jerry Thacker, says parents can certainly feel secure dropping their kids off at school. He says the district has made $2 million in security upgrades. A bulk of that is to nine of its elementary schools.

"When Sandy Hook occurred, when the shooting happened there, that tragedy, that served as a catalyst to accelerate this initiative," says Thacker.

Thacker says the initiative has three parts. First, visitors to the school will have to be buzzed in through two doors into the office.
Once inside, they'll need to show Identification.

"That is scanned and prints out a name tag indicating what business they'll be having in the school and where they'll be in the school," says Thacker.

Scanning a visitor's ID will also allow the school to see if they're a registered sex-offender.

The schools will also have extra security doors that can be remotely operated.

Another big change, classrooms that used to be open spaces now have permanent walls and doors that can be locked from inside.

Dr. Thacker says there will also be 3 "M" film put on the windows to make it more difficult for anything, like a bullet, to break through.

Thacker says the district is proud of the changes, "Safety has always been our biggest priority."

Elkhart Community Schools has also made some security changes for the new school year.

Administrators are re-routing traffic to make sure anyone who comes into the school has to go through the office first, and not just into the whole school.

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