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DISD Approves School Security Upgrades

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) –It didn’t take long for Dallas Independent School District board members to vote for security upgrades.

Thursday night, DISD board members approved spending $4.5 million to beef up school security at all its elementary schools.

Upgrades would include an intercom, eight-camera surveillance system, employee card readers and peepholes in every one of it’s 1,400 portable buildings.

“I think it’s long overdue,” says Oscar Nandayapa, Principal of Sam Houston Elementary in Dallas. “We will closely monitor who will come in and who doesn’t. Right now, as it is when the bell rings and we let them in, we don’t know who comes in those doors.”

Sam Houston is one of many campuses without any of the security upgrades.

The school is 104 years old.

“It can be kind of scary,” says Sam Houston teacher Faith Sorenson. “The idea of getting security here to me is very comforting.”

Peggy Espino is also a teacher at Sam Houston and she’s says the peepholes will make a difference for her.

“It’s actually something I’ve always wanted because sometimes you don’t know who is on the other side of the door, but you have to answer it.”

In light of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, DISD’s Police Chief Craig Miller says elementary schools will see the most changes.

“What this really forced us to do the week following Newtown, before our Christmas break, was to go out to the schools, talk to the teachers, talk to the principals, talk to the administrators and parents and find out what do they want,” explains Chief Miller. “Our emphasis is still to not put officers or armed personnel on those elementary school campuses, but to focus on our personnel at the secondary campuses.”

The upgrades will be made starting in May, and the money for it all would come from a 2008 bond program.

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