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Learning from Sandy Hook Elementary

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Benton, La. -

"The other administrators and I have walked the school and thought, 'Hmm, is there something else we could do?,'" Elm Grove Middle's Principal Terri Johnson told KTBS 3 News at a surprise lock down drill Jan. 2013, just weeks after the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

During the drill, teachers locked the doors, ordered students away from windows and passed signs to the outside letting law enforcement know during security sweeps their students were safe.

It's not an uncommon practice when reports of school shootings have become far too commonplace.

"We don't divulge everything, even though it's not top secret," said Danny Dison, Bossier Parish Schools security director. "We don't got out to the public and let them know each step we incorporate into a crisis lock down, but it is something that keeps our children safe."

The days after Sandy Hook brought other changes to Bossier Schools.

Ten of the district's elementary schools have secure barriers, systems which only allow outside visitors into the building after they've been remotely buzzed in.

School administrators are also expanding the School Resource Officer program to each elementary starting in the 2014-2015 school year. Currently, the parish uses four off-duty officer part time to rotate through the 19 element aries.

Administrators had kicked around the idea before, but it became reality after the Connecticut shooting.

"We knew that after Sandy Hook, we had a golden opportunity," Dison said. "Sheriff Whittington and Mr. Machen, the school superintendent, came together [and said], 'This is the time.' We saw it in May when the citizens overwhelmingly approved the millage in May."

The $3 million in funding will boost the SRO program from its current 13 officers to an eventual total of 35. Each officer will come from the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Dept.

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