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Lovington schools to be more secure after spring break

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Lovington schools to be more secure after spring break

LOVINGTON — A new security system will be in place when Lovington Municipal School students come back from spring break.

Superintendent LeAnne Gandy reported to the school board last Tuesday that visitors at each of the schools will soon be subject to a background check before they are permitted to enter areas where students are likely to be found.

Visitors, including parents and/or guardians will be asked to present a state issued identification card. The card will be placed in a small machine connected to a data base operated by HallPass Security Systems, and within less than a minute will approve or disapprove the visitor.

If the visitor passes the background check, a computer printer issues a paper “hall pass” with the visitor’s picture on it. After the visitor’s information is in the system, he or she need only give his or her last name to the receptionist, who will type the name into the system. The printer will provide a new hall pass and the visitor will be admitted to the classroom area.

Visitors who fail to be approved by the system may still be admitted, but will be escorted to and from their destinations.

Schools will be further “hardened” by the installation of shatter resistant glass that will separate office staff from the entry area. Doorways that lead into the classroom area will be closed electronically and can be opened only by the receptionist in the reception area.

After the meeting, Gandy said other security measures are in the planning stages. She explained that some of those measures include installing fences where they are needed around some schools.

Gandy said the cost for the security improvements are around $250,000.

“We don’t plan to have a closed campus at the high school at this time,” Gandy said.

Lovington school board president Greg Maxie pointed out that no security system is perfect. “But the safety of our students is our first priority,” he said. “And we will continue to work on improving what we have.”

Both Maxie and Gandy said arming Lovington teachers is not included in security plans.

“We want our teachers to teach, not function as armed guards,” Maxie said.

Before the formal board meeting began, the Lovington’s elementary school honor choir, under the direction of Linda Cauthen, sang two selections.

Jan Payne, science teacher at New Hope High School, reported on equipment she has bought with a $10,000 grant she received earlier this school year.

The board approved moving the next school board meeting to the high school cafeteria and holding it on April 17 before adjourning into executive session.

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