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Dutchess County, N.Y. -- Residents in multiple Dutchess County School Districts hit the polls Tuesday to vote on improving their schools security.This comes after a study from the New York State Board Of Education says many school Superintendents believe their schools are safer after the shooting in Newtown Connecticut. Our Michael Howard reports on how one school is proposing rearranging sections of their schools.
DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Saturday will mark a year since the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and since then, many schools across the country including Dutchess County have stepped up security, inside and out.
“They are necessary improvements especially in today’s world,” said Highland Superintendent Deborah Haab.
In a study released by the New York State School Boards Association, nearly 6 in 10 superintendents in New York say their schools are safer today, than they were a year ago.
“The bottom line is it would appear that the tragedy of Newtown has caused some of us in New York to focus in our response plans and beef them up," said the New York State Board of Education Director Timothy Kremer.
In Highland, School Superintendent Deborah Haab says she believes that statement is true. As her district has taken a number of steps, since the shooting.
“We have changed protocol with regards to our doors being lock with a signal point of entry during the course of the school day,” said Haab, “as well as making sure people are wearing visitor badges.”
With new protocols, came upgrades to the schools security system. As well as hiring three security personal, with law enforcement training at each of their three schools.
“The intent is to make it more difficult to get into the building unless you’re here for the right reasons,” said Haab.
The district hasn’t stopped there. Tuesday, Highland residents were voting on a $25 million proposal to improve schools, with part of the money going towards rearranging the front entrances of schools in the district.
“Visitors will not be able to immediately access the corridors or get into the buildings as they enter,” said Haab, “they would have to come in to a vestibule and then go through the main office.”
Although the new measures may have caused a headache for some, safety is their priority.
“I think people will appreciate the fact that our student’s safety is our number one concern as well as our staff,” said Haab.
School officials say if the referendum is passed, work could begin by 2015.