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School City of Mishawaka making safety improvements for district schools

WSBT 22

Safety is something the School City of Mishawaka is taking very seriously.

The district is in the process of making some safety improvements.

Administrators are focusing on doors. They've replaced a lot of exterior doors and changed entry policies for getting into the building.

Staff say interior doors could be safer too.

"Every door, every school was assessed,” said Safety Director, Ken Kahlenbeck

Mishawaka school leaders say it was time for some upgrades -- for all 4,500 of the districts doors.

Some will get new locks, some will get new frames and others will be replaced.

"It's set-up so that when you have visitors come to our school that they will all be checked in,” said Kahlenbeck.

The check-in process is stringent. Visitors have to scan their ID’s for a background check and wear a name tag with their picture on it.

Kahlenbeck says he wants to know who's in the building at all times.

"That's for the safety of all our students, all the faculty, all the visitors that are in the building,” he said.

If someone who shouldn't be allowed in does make their way into a school, administrators are adding another line of defense.

"Most of the doors, the main focus was the classroom doors, interior doors having locks switched out to where you can not only lock and unlock the door from the outside but also from the inside of the classroom,” said Kahlenbeck.

"It’s an opportunity to lock your door much quicker than you would pulling out your keys and stepping out into the hall and locking it from the hallways,” said Mishawaka High School Principal, Jerome Calderone.

He says there's never been a shooting or serious emergency in Mishawaka. He hopes these door upgrades help keep it that way.

"One of our major emphasis each and every year is the safety and protection of our students and our teachers. This just gives us an opportunity to fulfill what we believe in,” said Calderone.

Calderone says the installation process will take place over the next four or five months. He says it shouldn't affect student learning -- crews will work on most doors after school hours.

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