TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) -- Students returning to school in a western Indiana district and elsewhere in the state can expect to see tighter security in the wake of the shooting earlier this month in Connecticut that killed 20 elementary school students.
Vigo County School Corp. students going back to classes Wednesday after holiday break will find locked front entrances at the elementary and middle schools, the Tribune-Star in Terre Haute reported. Visitors will have to use a buzzer or video system to get in. The district is making technology upgrades to schools that don't have such systems.
Ray Azar, director of student services for the Vigo County School Corp., said school officials will continue to meet with law enforcement officers on areas where they can work to improve security.
"It will be a work in progress," Azar said. "Parents need to be assured their children will be safe in school and we're doing everything we can to make that happen."
Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing told WTHI-TV of Terre Haute that he is drafting a proposal that would add three full-time deputies permanently to rural middle and elementary schools.
Ewing said he believes rural schools are more vulnerable because it takes longer for authorities to respond in emergencies.
"Response times are greatly extended in the event of a situation, just by the demographics, by the area, the layout of the land," he said.
"By having a deputy stationed in that middle school and traveling to the elementary school, you would greatly reduce the amount of time it would take to get there."
Gov.-elect Mike Pence announced plans recently to conduct a thorough review of safety at Indiana schools.
Other school districts also have taken steps to tighten security. The Times of Munster reported that the school district in Munster in northwestern Indiana has canceled its open lunch policy that allowed parents and relatives to enter buildings to dine with students.
The district also will not allow parents picking up students during the school day to enter buildings without prior approval.