Sandy Hook massacre prompts Tampa Bay area school security upgrades
5:27 PM, Feb 14, 2013
1:50 AM, Feb 15, 2013
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -
The Pinellas County School District is upgrading security at ten schools after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut two months ago.
For security reasons, schools officials would not reveal what schools were getting the upgrades. But, they say Bardmoor Elementary in Seminole is proof the plan works.
If you plan on going inside the school, an administrator has to let you in. The doors have electronic locks.
Jessica Jaques has an 8-year-old son who goes to Bardmoor. She says the lock system keeps her at ease when she's away. "If you look suspicious, they're going to come to the door more than likely than to just buzz you in."
Pinellas County School District officials tell ABC Action News nine elementary schools and one middle school will soon use the electronic lock and buzzer system.
Several principals called for the upgrade after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. A gunman killed twenty children and six adults.
Melanie Marquez Parra, Pinellas County Schools spokesperson, said, "There's been a heightened level of awareness, a heightened level of discussion, of concern, following the tragedy in Newtown, which, of course, is natural."
But, not every parent is a fan of the security system. Maria Surls says it has drawbacks. "They can just come in. Be buzzed in and before you sign in and say that you have a son or daughter at the school. You don't really know if the parent is a parent or not."
The upgrades cost $300 to $900 for each school and will be installed in the near future.
District officials say all 74 elementary schools will also have doorbells installed for after-school programs, allowing parents access to their children.