DISD plans new elementary school safety measures

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 26 at 6:06 PM

DALLAS -- The Dallas ISD Police Department wants to begin implementing safety upgrades outside primary school campuses in portable classrooms, which experts say are most vulnerable to threats. 

Oftentimes, teachers are unable to see who is standing outside the door. There are no peepholes.

“They are the first step, first wave of our recommendations," said DISD Police Chief Craig Miller.

Miller wants to retrofit the 1,400 portables with the "eye ports."

"What this does is, it really allows the people who are inside - that teacher and children in classroom - when someone knocks on door to know exactly who it is that's out there," Miller said.

He said before the Sandy Hook shootings, no one thought much about having to secure elementary schools. In fact, the principal at William B. Travis Academy said they used to keep the portables unlocked.

“Once the incident happened, we told them to lock their doors and they have no way of knowing who is on the other side of the door," said Principal Mari Smith.

The new peepholes are just the beginning. The elementary schools also need cameras and new, high-tech intercom systems that will force everyone to go to the front door. The upgrades will cost $4.5 million.

“I think it will cut down tremendously on the possibility of someone coming in and hurting children or adults," Smith said.

Chief Miller acknowledges these are just measures to keep the majority of people out, but in the end, it won't stop the person on a mission.

“If a person is a lunatic and they are willing to die for a cause, it is very difficult to stop them completely," he said.

The DISD Board of Trustees will vote on the recommendations at Thursday night’s meeting. Chief Miller, however, says having armed teachers in classrooms is not a good idea, and is an option that's not up for discussion.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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