New safety upgrades before school starts

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- School districts have made safety improvements as your kids prepare to go back to class next week. KEPR found out how campuses will be even safer this year.

Alicia Evans will be sending her two kids back to school next week. Knowing her kids are in good hands is crucial to her.

"It's incredibly important to me. I adore my kids and I want them to be safe," said Evans.

Alicia appreciates the fence that was added around Ruth Livingston Elementary, as well as the lock down drills and added monitors.

"Ruth Livingston has been just exceptional with the changes that they have made," she said.

And Pasco isn't done yet. There's even more to come this fall. The district has focused on limiting access to buildings. A new primary access control system will be implemented next week. All keyed doors have been replaced with access badges. Only one main door will be open throughout the day.

"So we can restrict access only down to those who need to have access to those doors," said Pasco School District Executive Director of Operations, Randy Nunamaker.

Nunamaker says a big chunk of the summer was spent preparing for safety upgrades. They look at situations like Sandy Hook for help.

"It's the world we live in today. We're always reviewing those other security issues that happened and critiquing those and we learn from theirs," he said.

While the biggest safety change for the Pasco School District this fall is their ID card system, Kennewick is focused on their cameras. They want to add cameras like these to the exterior of all their secondary level buildings.

That will be done over the course of the school year. Cameras are already in place for all elementary schools. Kennewick will also start adding key-less entries in its schools, and finish by the end of the school year.

"The key is the student is the most important focus," said Nunamaker.

Richland Schools didn't have specific safety upgrades for its buildings other than tightening security at entrances. This includes more restrictions on access by the public.