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Lawton schools get security upgrade

LAWTON, Okla._Seven schools in Lawton will get some security upgrades very soon.

Students and staff at the city's four middle schools and three high schools will have a fob, similar to what you use with your car keys, that has a sensor inside. That fob is scanned at the door and will allow the door to open. The system also includes new security cameras that will show who is coming inside.

The technology that is in place now is 12 years old. School officials say the new technology will be more flexible for students and staff, and it will help keep everyone safe.

The upgrades focus on protecting the schools' entrances. It will mean easier access for students and staff, but help keep the bad guys out.

"Every student will have a different number attached, so they will know what card is scanned and the camera will show who is coming in the door," Lawton Public Schools IT Director Zelden Rice explained,

Rice says the sensors in the fob are computer generated and programmed to know when access to the schools is allowed.

"They won't be have entry on the weekends, they will only be allowed to come in during certain hours. If they try to get in, it will tell us someone tried to when they weren't authorized," Rice said.

Superintendent Dr. Tom Deighan says these upgrades will make things easier, especially on the high schools. Right now, the exit doors are designed to lock behind you, so if a student or teacher unintentionally goes out the wrong door, they have to walk around the building to a main entrance.

"This system will allow students to have greater freedom and access to the building without opening the building up to strangers," Deighan said.

Both Deighan and Rice say that schools' safety is their top priority.

"Schools are the safest place a child can be, and we want to make sure we do everything we can do to secure the buildings," Deighan said.

"Anything we can do to enhance the safety with upgraded new security, even though what we have is 12 years old, it still works, it's just updating the security cameras with the new technology is the advantage," Rice said.

Rice says the next step is to get with the company who will put in the new system to see how many cameras and things they will need. They will also have to get the approval from the City of Lawton and the fire marshal before updating the security.

Rice hopes to have the security upgrades within a few months or by the start of next school year.

Schools officials says it won't affect parents much. Parents will still check in at the front office before being allowed in the building.

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