CMS leaders making changes for safety at schools

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have made changes since the Friday shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

This week, Barringer Academic Center's principal and other CMS leaders went to work calming safety concerns.

Officials implemented a new policy: All classroom doors are locked from the inside -- making it easier to protect kids in an emergency.

"I had some staff members that said we'd feel more comfortable if we kept the doors locked at all times, and we went with that," said Principal Stephanie Range.

The district is allowing each school to decide whether to lock classroom doors. The CMS chief operating officer, Millard House, said at every school, safety policies that already exist are being reinforced.

"There should be a heightened level of awareness," House said.

Staff members are making sure all entryways into the school are locked to visitors, except the entrance that leads to the office.

Office personnel have been asked to be more vigilant, making sure visitors sign in and staff members know where they're going.

At every school, there will be more officers walking the halls.

"I have all confidence in how this school runs its system," said parent Meredith Starling.

Leaders are also talking about making other long-term safety changes.

Wednesday school leaders also said they are looking into several changes that could be implemented in the future.

"One of the things we're looking out for the future is what a buzzer would cost at each one of our sites." House said.

Early estimates suggest the plan could cost between $2,500 and $4,000. Leaders said they would also look into the possibility of adding cameras to elementary schools and strategic fencing around schools that back up to wooded areas.

They said funding for many of the ides would have to come from grants or the district's next bond issue.