• 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

  • Lifestyle

    Business accelerator program aims to help small businesses flourish in Alaska

    by Heather Hintze on Jul 26, 18:22

    After two years in business, Heather Kelly has seen the demand for more healthy options when it comes to backcountry camping food. That’s the concept behind her startup, Heather’s Choice: dehydrated meals made with Alaskan ingredients like smoked salmon. “We’ve steadily grown. Today we’re sitting at $31,000 through our website which is our best month […]

  • News

    Coast Guard: 46 abandon ship in Alaska waters, await rescue

    by Associated Press on Jul 26, 16:58

    The Latest on the rescue of 46 crew members who abandoned a fishing vessel in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands on Tuesday (all times local): 5:05 p.m. A second Good Samaritan vessel has arrived to help rescue 46 people who abandoned a fishing boat in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Steenson says the plan […]

  • Crime

    Chickaloon man charged with assaulting rafters along river

    by Associated Press on Jul 26, 14:29

    A man suspected of using a knife to confront a rafting party along the Chickaloon River has been charged with four counts of felony assault. Alaska State Troopers say 56-year-old Bruce Harrison of Chickaloon, claiming the group was trespassing, on Monday untied a raft carrying five juveniles and kicked it into fast water toward rapids. […]

  • DayBreak

    Alaska’s sports legends help the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame celebrate its 10th year

    by Daybreak Staff on Jul 26, 13:34

    The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame is celebrating its 10-year-anniversary and a collection of the state’s greatest all-stars will be in attendance. From Super Bowl and Stanley Cup winners, to Olympic medalists, the public is invited for a chance to meet all of them Thursday and Friday. Tuesday, Alaska Sports Hall of Fame executive director […]

  • Crime

    Police: Teen seriously injured in early morning shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 26, 13:09

    A 17-year-old male was taken to an Anchorage hospital with serious injuries after he was shot in the chest in the Fairview neighborhood early Monday morning, according to Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Anita Shell. Shell provided few details, but said at 4:48 a.m. the teen walked into a Holiday Gas Station, at the 4600 block […]

  • News

    Deficit-saddled Alaska gets another hit to its credit rating

    by Associated Press on Jul 26, 12:20

    Alaska’s credit rating has taken another hit in the face of a multibillion-dollar budget deficit that state officials have yet to close. The downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service marked the second time this year that the agency has lowered the state’s credit rating. Two other ratings agencies, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, […]

  • News

    DOC will shut down Palmer Correctional Complex, move inmates

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 26, 11:31

    The Department of Corrections announced Tuesday morning plans to shut down the Palmer Correction Center, and move its staff and inmates. In a release from DOC, the department said the decision was made in an effort to reduce the agency’s budget. According to DOC, they plan to increase the staffing and safety at other facilities. The […]

  • Lifestyle

    Area in Denali Park to reopen after bear sightings

    by Associated Press on Jul 26, 8:42

    FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – Denali National Park officials are planning to reopen an area of the park that had been closed because of a problem grizzly bear, which will be killed by park rangers once it is located. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/2a9A5z0) that park spokeswoman Katheen Kelly says the Mountain Vista and Savage […]