School district beefing up security in front office in case of shootings

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The Deer Valley Unified School District has just approved new safety features to protect students and staff from gunfire. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Deer Valley Unified School District has just approved new safety features to protect students and staff from gunfire. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
One unique feature is the way the district is utilizing ballistics-resistant materials. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) One unique feature is the way the district is utilizing ballistics-resistant materials. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
It's always a fine line between the security measures and a welcoming environment, says Legend Springs principal Jennifer Minor. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) It's always a fine line between the security measures and a welcoming environment, says Legend Springs principal Jennifer Minor. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The district says safety additions are determined with advice from local law enforcement officers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The district says safety additions are determined with advice from local law enforcement officers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Deer Valley Unified School District has just approved new safety features to protect students and staff from gunfire.

The governing board gave the green light Tuesday for a second round of safety upgrades that include materials that may someday stop a bullet.

District officials call it "hardening the front offices."

The safety additions have been rolled out in phases and will be completed at all of the district's 38 campuses. The features are covered by a bond approved by voters in 2013.

One unique feature is the way the district is utilizing ballistics-resistant materials. The layer of protection will not only be applied to windows, but to desks and the front counter as well. The goal is to provide protections for students and staff who may have to take cover if an active shooter opens fire.

It's always a fine line between the security measures and a welcoming environment, says Legend Springs principal Jennifer Minor.

Minor says school officials did not want floor-to-ceiling partitions, but they wanted to take precautions to prevent a deadly incident.

We always have to think a crisis or a situation can happen at any point, says Minor.

The height of the front counter will be raised at front lobbies to keep intruders from hopping over, and lobbies will have buzzer doors, where a staff member can remotely unlock a door leading to the campus once an individual has signed in at the counter.

The district says safety additions are determined with advice from local law enforcement officers.

While districts like Queen Creek Unified and Tempe Union High School use shatter-proof windows at some of their campus front offices, it's unclear if any Valley district is utilizing the ballistics-resistant materials the same way as Deer Valley Unified.

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