• 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

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, July 6

    by KTVA Weather on Jul 06, 23:11

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Rain for coastal areas and showers for Anchorage and the interior areas. Up to 1/3 inches of rain by Wednesday night.   Southeast Rain showers for the northern areas like Yakutat with mostly cloudy skies and mostly dry for areas south of there. Sunny skies for Ketchikan.   Interior/North Slope Smokey […]

  • News

    Chester Creek Greenbelt fire came close to Anchorage homes

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 06, 23:06

    Some people who live in the Rogers Park neighborhood may not know how lucky they are. Authorities say a fire started by homeless campers on Friday near Chester Creek Greenbelt Park could have easily spread to homes. Joanne Jenson, who lives in the area, was visiting Valdez when she heard her neighborhood was being evacuated. […]

  • News

    Special Olympics ‘Flame for Hope’ comes to Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 06, 21:57

    The “Flame of Hope” for the Special Olympics World Summer Games is making its way around the country with a stop in Anchorage on Monday. State and local law enforcement kicked off the unified relay around Anchorage. Alaska’s Sen. Dan Sullivan participated in the day’s events, lighting the torch in the official hand off for […]

  • News

    Float plane flipped on Naknek Lake

    by Hannah Colton/KDLG on Jul 06, 21:02

    Three passengers and a pilot were rescued unharmed from a PA-22 float plane that flipped in Naknek Lake around 12:30 Sunday afternoon. The Piper was piloted by Mark Romo of Aleknagik. Katmai Chief Ranger Tom Betts says the plane landed on rough waters with strong winds from the east. “Generally on an east wind day […]

  • News

    Berkowitz writes to Secretary of the Army in effort to keep troops at JBER

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 06, 17:19

    As one of his “first official acts” as Anchorage’s new mayor, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wrote a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, emphasizing the importance of the Fourth Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division (4-25) to the city and state’s economic and strategic futures. Anchorage’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), where […]

  • News

    Human jawbone discovered at South Anchorage park

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 06, 15:33

    The Anchorage Police Department is investigating the discovery of a human jawbone found in South Anchorage on Sunday. Around 6:45 p.m., APD was contacted by a woman who claimed to have found a human jawbone in “a wood line at a park,” along the 9400 block of Brayton Drive. According to the woman, it was […]

  • News

    Firefighter Combat Challenge comes to Anchorage

    by Jacquie Slater on Jul 06, 14:53

    For the second time in its 25-year history, the Firefighter Combat Challenge made its way to Alaska as part of the Fourth of July festivities in Anchorage. Challenge founder Dr. Paul Davis first brought the challenge here for the 50th anniversary of statehood. This year, he says he brought it here to celebrate the city’s […]

  • News

    Cosby said he got drugs to give women for sex

    by Associated Press on Jul 06, 14:11

    Bill Cosby admitted in a 2005 deposition that he obtained Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with. He admitted giving the sedative to at least one woman. The Associated Press went to court to compel the release of the documents, and they were made public Monday. […]