New security measures in place at MSD ahead of upcoming school year
New surveillance system, thick windows, door-locking system in place
PARKLAND, Fla. – Safety remains a concern after the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, as students prepare to head back to school next week.
There isn't a single part of the campus where security hasn't been improved from new surveillance cameras, to thick windows, a door locking and a communication system that extends beyond the building to dozens of portables.
The sound of workers cut through the eerie sense you get walking around the campus of Stoneman Douglas Wednesday. Building 1200, the site of the massacre, is surrounded by a tall fence.
The new normal at MSD begins at the main entrance, where parents and visitors will be buzzed into the front office and checked in by staff.
At one of the three entry points to the school, students will show their student ID and keep it on them all day.
"The only place you can go to get into the building is through those doors," Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.
On Wednesday, the superintendent toured the 34 portables that will house students from each classroom in the building where the shooting took place.
Two of the portables will have counselors on hand.
"There is no question that this first day of school will be profoundly different and extremely challenging from any other opening of school that has occurred in its 28-year history," Runcie said. "It will be emotional and difficult as we remember the victims, the families, faculty and staff."
Students will return to class without two proposed security measures: They won't have to use a clear backpack or go through a metal detector.
The district said it needs more time to figure out the impact screening 3,200 students will have on getting everyone to class on time.
"We are in unchartered territory. We are trying to move as quickly as possible to respond to every need and we don't always get it right," Runcie said. "There are a lot of things that we are rushing, and sometimes, when you rush to meet expectations, you don't always get it right as you should."
Two of three entry points are out front and a third is on the side of campus where seniors will park. The board will take up the issue of metal detectors at a meeting next week.
Meanwhile, the district is spending $26 million to create single points of entry at all schools. It's also adding school resource officers and armed guardians to each school.
All schools are also getting new fences, double-doors and surveillance cameras.
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