Columbia School Administrators have been working with retired police officers for the past year on a security plan to make children safer. On Monday night those officers and administration presented the plan to the Columbia Public School Board.At both Jefferson Junior and Douglass High School administrators are already adding new lights, but more cameras and armed officers could be on the way.Monday’s announcement comes on the heels of an attack outside Jefferson junior last month. Administrators said that’s partially why they are focusing on these two schools for security upgrades.”Student safety of course is so critical to what we do and so is teacher safety so we are trying to make sure everyone knows transparently what the game plan is to make it a better environment,” said CPS Superintendant Chris Belcher.The first step is to get new lighting at the schools and add more cameras to not only catch crime, but prevent it. Another item high on the administrations list is updating locks. Teachers will use special key fobs so only they can enter side doors.Police will also be given a sub station office at Jefferson Junior to increase their presence. “We are supplying a spot for them to do their daily activities instead of making them go back to the station to do that,” said Belcher.The current Student Resource officers will continue at their current locations, but if the process of having officers in schools go well the plan will expand. CPS administration is now in the process of creating a new alert system that will notify school officials and parents if an incident happens within 1000 feet of any school. All of these improvements are already budgeted for and will eventually be added to all the schools in the area.District leaders also discussed the possible plan of changing school bus routes from a two tier system to a three tier system. This could change the start and end times of several schools.Currently plans are still being drawn, however administration hopes to survey the community for their opinions before the end of this semester.
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