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Michigan school districts enhancing safety measures as they prepare for new school year

Posted at 6:25 AM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 12:46:17-04

(WXYZ) — We are entering into the last days of summer which means the start of the school year is right around the corner.

What is typically a joyous time for parents wanting a break is now being met with concern as some families express reservations about the safety of their kids returning to the classroom.

This comes amid the string of school shootings seen last school year.

School officials and educators in Michigan say they hear the parents' concerns and fears loud and clear. They add that they have been working all summer to help keep schools secure and intruders out.

“The rational side realizes the likelihood is low but at the same time it only takes one crazed person,” Jacob Dimick, father of a soon-to-be Kindergartner said.

School districts across the state are tightening up defenses and installing new safety measures.

Previously, teachers at Huron Valley Schools would have to physically leave their classroom with a key to lock the door if an intruder was trying to come in but now, they just have to turn a lock. It’s one of the many safety features added this year to help keep kids protected.

Also new this year, the district quadrupled the number of security cameras and installed a system that requires every guest to show their photo ID to get into the building. But, it’s not all about technology.

“Heavy focus on human behaviors. Closing and locking doors when you enter the building. Closing and locking doors in the classroom and regular training,” Huron Valley Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Salah said.

Salah adds that high schoolers will also be required to keep their backpacks in their lockers, a rule not everyone is sold on.

“I spoke with one parent who was quite upset because she had purchased the armor plates that go in her daughter's backpack so they effectively neutralized her child's safety feature that she spent hundreds of dollars on," Dimick said.

Detroit Public Schools and Charter District Superintendent says to heighten their security all students will now have an ID badge. They have also purchased new metal detectors and updated cameras.

But he says ultimately, "the best way to prevent these tragedies from happening is relationships with students.”