MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison schools officials say school security is a constantly reviewed priority, and includes the recent phase-in of locking all school buildings, and requiring all teachers, staff and visitors to enter through electronic clearance.
Madison schools security director Luis Yudice tells 27 News modifying all school buildings to electronically lock school buildings during the day began last fall. The system requires teachers and staff to program pass codes to enter, and requires visitors to be viewed by school staff through entrance-mounted, surveillance cameras, before entering.
CNN reports Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut also initiated a visual monitoring system to determine entry this year. Authorities say the gunman in Friday's mass shooting at Sandy Hook was the son of a Sandy Hook teacher.
Lapham Elementary School principal Tammy Thompson Kapp tells 27 News her student body of three hundred participates in "code red" drills, to prepare in the event of a school-wide threat.
Yudice says police officers and security personnel staff all of Madison's city high schools, and two-thirds of its elementary schools, but none of the school system's elementary schools.
Yudice tells 27 News teachers and staff participate in training designed to equip them to defuse potentially hostile situations at schools. Thompson Kapp says her staff engages with student families, and others in the school community, in relationship-building, to lessen the chance of differences escalating into violence.
Yudice says fortifying school security can result from small changes in buildings. Yudice cites displaying numbers on the outside of all classroom doors, to help emergency responders locate key areas in the event of a crisis.
School officials say even grade school students become partners in school safety through their exposure to best practices in drills, curriculum, and school culture.