ELLENSBURG, Wash.--While your children are busy
enjoying their last days of summer vacation, the Ellensburg School District is
making plans to keep them safe.
"From a building administration standpoint you want
to know who is in your building, and you want to have some screening and control
of access to your building," said Ben Mount, the Emergency Preparedness
Coordinator for the Ellensburg School District. "And older buildings were really
built without that in mind, Lincoln especially."
However, that could change by the end of the year.
The school district is working on plans to relocate Lincoln Elementary's office
to the main entrance of the building.
"People will come in and be able to interact with
somebody from the district, sign in as a visitor or talk about what they're
doing," said Mount. "Once they're approved, they'll be able to enter the
building and go about their business."
Students and staff at Lincoln Elementary and Mount
Stuart Elementary will also notice a new intercom system installed in the next
several months, providing instant communication during an
"We will go from being able to enter lockdown after
a fairly long time to being able to enter it essentially immediately," said
Parents we spoke with said they're happy to hear
about these changes and will be more at ease sending their kids back to school
"They do need to do something to ensure the safety
of our children," said Michell Schmidt, a parent. "Our society's definitely
changing, and it's unfortunate that we're at this point but I'm happy to see
them doing that."
The emergency preparedness coordinator said
students will notice a bigger law enforcement presence during emergency drills,
and thorough evaluations may cause drills to run a little bit