Ames School District Clamping Down on Security for Student Safety

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AMES, Iowa -- School officials within the Ames Community School District are excited about the upcoming school year.

"We are kind of changing the face of the community with our new facilities. We've got some high flying kids," said Superintendent Dr. Tim Taylor. Catering to those same kids and included within a $55 million general obligation bond vote in 2012 towards three new school buildings and renovations throughout the district. All seven schools are locking down on safety like never before.

"When class starts, the only way you can get into the building is the main entrance where we have video. So you'll identify yourself to get signed into the security vestibule," said Taylor.

Taylor says the security measures have been triggered by school violence seen across the country and aging buildings. "Many of our older buildings were also built in the 1950's and did not provide any sight-lines towards the main doors from the principals office," Taylor said. "We had elementary schools where people could enter and be in there and nobody would know it."

Regardless of the reason, it's a move many parents like Angie Strotman, who sends two children to Edwards Elementary School, quickly got on board with.  "Our schools are for our children, and when you are a parent and away at work, you want to know they are in the most safe and secure environment they can be in," Strotman said.

Security isn't just limited to visitor access. "Protocols for intruder detection and protocol for interior access management," Taylor said.

Taylor says the increase in security is not in response to any incidents in Ames. "No we've never had an issue. I think most people would say no they've never had their own home burglarized at night but they still lock the door," she said.

It is a proactive approach putting parents minds at ease. "It makes me feel like my kids are in a safe environment and if something were to happen, that the school has a procedure and will follow it," Strotman said.

Edwards Elementary and Ames Middle School have both been using the new security measures. The other five will begin using them August 24, on the first day of school.