Schools make security upgrades

by: Michelle Linn Updated:

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Tulsa, Okla. —

When school starts at Rosa Parks Elementary, in the Union Public School district, at 7:50AM Wednesday, students will notice something different.

There is now glass, and a security door.

You have to get buzzed into the office. 

Rosa Parks Elementary Principal Karen Vance tells FOX23 the staff appreciates the security upgrades.

"This just really adds that extra level that I think makes everybody feel better," said Vance.

We asked Union Public Schools Director of Security Tyoto Wardlow about the biggest potential threat to safety and security inside a school building.

"(An) active shooter situation.  That's one of the biggest things that we potentially try to prevent," said Wardlow.

But Vance tells us threats can also arise from day-to-day encounters.

"If someone’s really angry with their spouse and they come up here, you know?  This just adds that other layer of a way to get into the building. They have to have a stop first, before they enter that door, and I think this makes a huge difference that they can’t just walk right in," said Vance.

"If someone comes in, (an) angry parent or something, they have to stop here. They don’t have access to get back to the building," said Wardlow.

Wardlow tells FOX23 many of the newer schools in the Union district were built with secure access to the office.

He says, since Rosa Parks Elementary was built back in 2006, it needed this security upgrade.

It is one of three elementary schools the district retrofitted with these office security windows, over the summer.

"Many times people think our number one job in a school is to teach children to read and write and do mathematics, but really, my number one job is to keep these children safe," said Vance.

In addition to the new security windows, all Union schools use the Raptor System, to scan your driver's license, before they give you a visitor's pass.

That way, if someone is a registered sex offender, Vance tells FOX23, she immediately gets an alert on her cell phone, and that person is not allowed into the school. 

Vance tells FOX23 Rosa Parks will welcome almost 700 students, when they start the new school year Wednesday.