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New secure entryways in Dumas elementary schools

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Dumas, TX - Parents in Dumas send their kids off to school next week, they can breathe a little easier knowing that their children are safer.

Over the summer, Dumas ISD installed secure entryways at all five of their elementary schools.  The idea is that anyone entering the school is funneled into a hallway separate from any of the actual classrooms.  That way, people can't simply circumvent the main office - they must go through some sort of checkpoint before they can actually enter the hallways.

"All of our outside doors are locked," says Dumas ISD Police Chief Larry Payne.  "We have a policy that classrooms are locked during instruction time, and of course, with this structure in place, when they come in they can go nowhere to cause a problem with our staff; they have to go directly into the office. Should they try to enter unlawfully, that gives the people in the office plenty of time to give us a call so that we can respond and hopefully solve the problem without anyone getting hurt."

Dumas schools are also newly equipped with "CopSYNC," a specialized alarm system that allows staff to alert all law enforcement in the area in the event of an emergency.  So far, none of the schools have had cause to use it.

"We certainly enjoy the fact that we've been incident-free, basically ... but we don't take anything for granted," says Payne, "We know at any time that something new might come to us that might be a problem."

In February, there was an incident in which a gun was found in a student's backpack - but it turned out the gun was not loaded and no one was hurt.

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