• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 47s

In wake of Sandy Hook, Anchorage schools get safety improvements

By Alexis Fernandez Photojournalist: John Thain - 7:50 PM July 28, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

It’s been nearly two years since a gunman walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 26 people, including 20 children.

It was a wake-up call for school districts across the country.

In a couple of weeks, Anchorage students will be heading back to school. This year, there will be an added layer of security.

“We can see every entrance, and every other problem areas like playgrounds,” said Chris Woodward, principal at Mountain View Elementary.

Woodward will have a new set of eyes thanks to an upgraded surveillance system.

“You have to be able to observe things in order to control them,” he said.

It’s one of dozens of Anchorage schools getting safety improvements.

“It makes it easier for me to do the most important part of my job, which is working with kids and teachers,” Woodward said.

Along with active monitoring and 500 additional radios, all schools will have a duress alarm, known as a panic button. The alarm connects directly to the Anchorage Police Department.

“One of the needs that we identified based on the experience in Newtown and other experiences is a way to contact the authorities without using a phone,” said Mike Abbott, chief operating officer with the Anchorage School District.

“It’s designed to be in a place where a number of staff people can get to it, maybe if they’re sort of in a hurry, as you can see you just sort of lift that, hit the red button and away you go,” said Woodward, demonstrating how to use the alarm.

However, it’ll only be used as a last resort.

All elementary schools will also have electronic front door locks. Abbott says high schools will not be getting locked doors because data shows threats in secondary schools typically come from within the school. For elementary schools, however, the threat comes from outside of the school.

Woodward says although this is sadly the new norm, it’s the only way to prevent another Sandy Hook tragedy from happening in our city.

The improvements were paid for by a $6.4 million grant from the state. All improvements will be completed over the next several months.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Citizen lobbyists frustrated by short-notice cancellation of session Thursday

    by Liz Raines on Apr 28, 21:04

    The Alaska House was supposed to take up an omnibus criminal justice reform bill, Senate Bill 91, in a floor session Thursday morning, but the meeting was cancelled with less than an hour’s notice. A House Majority Press Secretary said the latest version of the bill wasn’t finished being drafted after amendments were made in […]

  • News

    Construction worker remembered as one of dozens killed on the job in Alaska

    by Heather Hintze on Apr 28, 20:39

    More than two dozen workers in Alaska were killed on the job in 2015. On Thursday, people gathered at the Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial to honor those men and women for Workers Memorial Day. “All I can say is that I will never forget Samuel, and you and your family and I vow and our staff vows […]

  • News

    Citing dry conditions, AFD encourages free home inspection program

    by Eric Ruble on Apr 28, 20:24

    Captain Joe Albrecht has spent 38 years with the Anchorage Fire Department. He said this year’s fire danger is ”unprecedented,” especially on Anchorage’s hillside. “It’s a fact that sooner or later there’s going to be a large incident and there’s not much the Anchorage Fire Department is going to be able to do when it happens,” […]

  • Lifestyle

    Fewer U.S. teens are having babies; here’s why

    by CBS News on Apr 28, 18:39

    Birth rates among teens in the U.S. have dropped dramatically since 2006, according to a new report, and there are a lot of factors behind the trend, including a steep decline in births by black and Hispanic teens. Births to all American teenagers have plummeted by more than 40 percent, said Lisa Romero of the U.S. […]

  • Lifestyle

    Numbers don’t lie: Alaskans are crazy about their chickens

    by Carolyn Hall on Apr 28, 18:18

    A small tract of land can yield quite a crop for an ambitious backyard homesteader such as Mountain View resident Phil Cannon. His garden produces all the staples: carrots, potatoes, beets and lettuce. “We try to grow as much as we can for vegetables. This year we’re gonna let the kids grow their own sections […]

  • Politics

    Negotiators reach deal on excess power program earnings

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 17:21

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement for use of any excess earnings from a fund set up to help rural areas faced with high electricity costs. A conference committee Thursday agreed to legislation that would allow for 70 percent of excess earnings from the Power Cost Equalization endowment fund to […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Why the fiscal gap should be fixed now

    by John Tracy on Apr 28, 16:56

    Back in October, when I first began these commentaries, I said that lawmakers would be unlikely to levy an income tax, or use earnings from the Permanent Fund to help balance the budget. It didn’t take much of a crystal ball to make that prediction going into an election year, even though it was possible […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage man admits to stealing mail, credit cards from Hillside residents

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 28, 16:01

    An Anchorage man pleaded guilty to charges of mail theft and credit card fraud in federal court Wednesday, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Evan Mullen, 28, admitted to stealing mail and packages from multiple homes in Anchorage’s Hillside neighborhood from December 2015 until his arrest in February 2016. His main target […]