Hancock County schools beef up security - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hancock County schools beef up security

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The recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown has school leaders in Hancock County making some adjustments.

Before the Connecticut mass shooting, the district put security measures in place for their campuses. But that tragedy has district leaders adding to the security plan.

School district leaders are taking a closer look at security measures at their six campuses to make sure nothing ever shatters that peace. 

"Safety is our number one concern when it comes to our students," said Hancock County School Superintendent.

Some of the money from a $16 million school bond issue passed last year will redesign the entrances to three of the schools. East Hancock Elementary will see the most drastic change, as a new lobby area will be added to the school.

"So that we can better direct or guide traffic visitors through the front office. We want to know whose on campus and why they're on campus," said Dedeaux.

Most of the security measures will be made to the District's three oldest schools: Hancock High, Hancock Middle and East Hancock Elementary. Each of those schools will be equipped with doors that will only open after a visitor has been buzzed in and will lock automatically. Exterior doors in other areas of the schools will play a big role in limiting access to the buildings as well.

According to Dedeaux, "The doors that will be added will be a locked door. There will be only one way to go through that door, basically, and that's to exit that door. By adding that door, it's going to give us an extra layer of security because it will not open into the hallway to where our students and staff are located."

At Hancock High School the new safety measures will be very noticeable.

Dedeaux said, "It's more of an open campus, a large campus. There are several breezeways leading to the back part of our campus. We're going to enclose those breezeways and that's going to help us guide traffic. Once they come on campus, they have to go through the front office."

More surveillance cameras will be added to the campuses where needed. And the classroom to office intercom systems will be updated. Some of the work is still in the design phase. Other parts of the plan are about to go out for bid.

School leaders hope to have all of the new security measures in place by next school year.

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