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New security checkpoints installed at some Hillsborough County schools

Safety and security at local schools
Posted at 4:02 PM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 18:28:32-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Some of the oldest and most historic schools in Hillsborough County got a much-needed security upgrade to keep students safe.

ABC Action News got a tour of a new security vestibule at Hillsborough High in Tampa. The lobby will serve as the main entrance for visitors coming to the school while class is in session.

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"You are not getting out of there until someone knows exactly where you are going," Hillsborough High Principal Gary Grady said. "Safety and security is at the forefront of everybody's mind right now."

Before the new holding area was built, visitors were buzzed directly into the school, giving them complete access to the hallways.  

"It's a game-changer," John Newman, the Chief of Hillsborough County Public Schools Security and Emergency Management said. "One of the challenges we had coming out of Parkland and trying to harden a lot of our campuses is dealing with the architect from different periods. This school was built in the 20s, wasn't built for active shooters."

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Hillsborough High, constructed in 1927, is the county's oldest every exterior door leads directly into the building. The doors remain locked from the outside during school, but Newman said everyone has to do their part to protect the campus.

"You gotta shut a door if you see it open, you gotta make sure people aren't popping the doors for friends to let them in," Newman said.  

The four other schools with newly built security vestibules are Plant City High, Leto, Chamberlin and Jefferson.