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Increasing School Protection In Sioux Falls



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The tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, shook up people and school districts across the nation.

Now, the Sioux Falls School District is putting new security measures on the fast track, to further protect the safety of students and staff.

The Sioux Falls School Board decided to forward with these safety measures, which include heightened awareness and improvements to make school buildings safer.

KDLT News can't tell you exactly what these improvements are, that's because the plan will not be released to the public, in order to better protect students.

To be clear, school officials said parents, students and staff don't have to be worried, safety protocols are and have been in place.

"Safety of our children is first and foremost on the board's mind," said Morrison.

Sioux Falls School Board President Douglas C. Morrison, said following tragedies, such as the one in Newtown, CT, causes a heightened interest for officials and parents when it comes to keeping kids safe.

Which then, sparks conversations about what can be done to improve the protection of kids and staff.

"Get together, dialog about it and see if there's anything, any lessons that come out of there that we can put back into our process," said Morrison.

School officials said there are plenty of safety measures already in place, and in 2009, a special grant was awarded to the District to perform assessments and evaluations on the 35 public schools across the city.

"We formed the task force with a lot of community partners to come in and look at our schools and help us with the process to make sure our schools are as safe and secure as they could be," said Morrison.

The improvements on the schedule are mostly structural, changes to school buildings that will be more efficient for staff in the event of an emergency and to heighten security for people entering the buildings.

"We decided to accelerate them and move them forward in the Capitol Improvement Plan and get them done," said Morrison.

In the end, the Board's decision boiled down to prioritizing what needs to be done,
$6.7 Million worth of safety measure improvements for the Sioux Falls School District.

"There was no sense in delaying them any farther, we found a spot in the Capitol Improvement Plan," said Morrison.

The school board will begin accepting bids to jump-start construction on the projects on the list and are set to be completed August, 2014.
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