Officials look to improve school safety

In the wake of the Dec. 14, mass shooting at an elementary in Newton, Conn., area school administrators are working to improve their lockdown procedures.

"It's scary," said Johnnie Cain, superintendent for Logan Schools.

Cain said Sand Hook had the security and safety measures in place, despite how prepared they were it turned out tragic. He said the school will be holding a lockdown drill within a month.

Cain said it crucial that the students, staff and teachers all know the procedures and steps to follow in the event of a lockdown.

On the same day of the shooting which left 27 dead, 20 children, six adults and the shooter, Tucumcari Public Schools launched a text/email based alert system for parents.

The notification system was launched on Friday, though its use is not limited to emergency notifications, said Aaron McKinney, superintendent Tucumcari Schools.

McKinney said while Friday's shooting might have accelerated the launch of the notification system, its use had been planned on for some time. He said class cancellation or delays can be relayed to parents in the event of bad weather and parents can be made aware of school based events.

"We are looking into doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of the students," McKinney said. "It's also important to assure the parents that their children will be safe while at school."

McKinney said on Monday he visited with state, city and county law enforcement, asking them to come to the schools and review their facilities. He said the advise and expertise of these agencies is highly welcomed and appreciated.

"We want to use any resource that is available to us," McKinney said.

McKinney said they have already begun looking at securing the entry points of each school and are considering installing a locked door system. He said a parent or visitor would have to be buzzed into the building by staff.

McKinney said he is reaching out to active shooting experts in Albuquerque, for additional resources and training such as the "active shooting" lecture held on Nov. 2 by members of the Albuquerque Police Department's crisis response team at the Tucumcari High School Auditorium.

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