Chris Gordon has the details in a sweeping security upgrade for all Howard County elementary and middle schools.
A screening system at the front doors of all Howard County elementary and middle schools will be fully installed by 2014.
A task force in the county was created the day after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 26 people, including young children, were killed.
The new system includes a buzzer, surveillance and a communication system at each school's front door during school hours. Visitors and parents alike will enter through the front door, buzz in to school officials who are watching them through surveillance video, communicate why they're visiting, then sign in and obtain a visitor's badge.
“By December, all of our elementary schools will have buzzer systems and by the spring, all of our middle schools will have [them],” Rebecca Amani-Dove with Howard County Public Schools said.
Most parents said they're happy with the extra layer of safety.
“It makes me feel like my children are safe,” parent Eve Nicholson said. “It makes me feel like no one can get in without being pre-screened a little bit.”
Clemens Crossing Elementary School Principal David Larner said he initially wasn't convinced of the system's merits but has grown comfortable with its merits.
“When we first heard about it, there was some apprehension about how it was going to work,” Larner said. “The way it’s been implemented has been wonderful."