Pullman School District ramps up elementary school security

Pullman School District ramps up elementary school security
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The Pullman School District has added electronic locks, surveillance cameras and a new entry system to its three elementary schools ahead of the 2019-20 school year.

Administrators at the Pullman School district say tragedies at schools across the country have forced them to confront the fact that they need to be ready for anything, so this summer, they found a way to give the district’s three elementary schools some much-needed security boosts before kids come back from summer vacation.

“It’s scary in the fact of gun violence and school shootings, but it’s brought us to be a closer knit community,” said Sunnyside Elementary principal Pam Brantner.

This year, students at Sunnyside, Jefferson and Franklin Elementary schools will come back to electronic locks, new cameras and a revamped entry system. The changes are worth at least $43,000, found in the district’s maintenance and operations budget.

District leaders say Sunnyside proved the most challenging to retrofit, since it’s the oldest school in the district and has four possible entry points in the building’s foyer. Those doors lead to a couple hallways, the cafeteria and the front office. With the new system, those doors will stay locked until the school secretary buzzes someone in.

“Kids are safer at schools than they’ve ever been,” said district executive director of operations Joe Thornton. “Some people are gonna be inconvenienced, some people are gonna be frustrated, but I think the vast majority of people will support this change.”

Brantner said students are growing up in a different time, as school shootings have claimed the lives of so many nationwide.

“A lot of students know or see the news or watch what’s happening in the world today and I think it’s a frightful time for them,” Brantner said. “It hits close to home. You can try and be as prepared as you can, but you never know.”