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Lufkin ISD announces new security measures

Lufkin, Texas (KETK) - The Santa Fe school massacre left 10 people dead and sparked a greater debate in the state.

How do we keep our students safe?

Thursday night, the Lufkin ISD school board decided to take extra steps to keep their students safe. 

"It's something we keep on our radar all the time," said Scott Skelton, Lufkin ISD School Board President. "Obviously the shootings in Parkland and Santa Fe have caused everybody to re-evaluate and re-evaluate again."

Included in their new security measures: biometric scanners, or fingerprint scanners, on the doors, rifles for Lufkin ISD police officers, a K-9 unit and monthly meetings to review overall security for the district.

The rifles will either be placed in gun safes in strategic areas or they will be in the officer's vehicles when they are travelling.

Though the officers will not have the rifles all the time, Skelton says they will be there if they need them.

Skelton says he is most excited to see sophisticated technology like biometric system be put into play, as well as the K-9 units.

"The student will have to use their thumbprint to get in the door," he said. "Of course this will be after school has started or after school is closed if they want to get in and out of the building."

As the for the K-9 unit, it was actually a request by a Lufkin ISD police officer who worked with a K-9 unit in a previous department.

"We just think it's going to be a great asset not only in deterrence but in detection," said Skelton. "It will be only a dog to sniff things not a dog that would be able to attack."

The public, although disheartened at the need for enhanced security, sees this as a move in the right direction for Lufkin ISD.

"They need everything they can think of," said said K. Kay Price, a Lufkin resident. "They need to protect those kids and let them get a good education because that's what it's all about."

These new measures caught the attention of Paul Robbins, now the chair of the Texas School Safety Center.

"I'm very encouraged," said Paul Robbins, Texas School Safety Center Chairman. "Not only are they looking at what the mandates are by the governor, they're looking at what their resources are, pairing those resources with their needs and they're implementing a plan."

He says what's most encouraging isn't the rifles, K-9 unit or even the thumbprint scanners; he says it's the monthly meetings and open dialogue about security. 

"It's not a static plan," Robbins said. "It's a plan that grows with their needs and grows with the resources they have available."

An opinion shared by local parents and grandparents alike.

"Anything that is done consistently is very important," said Price. "You don't want to wait for six months and have a meeting because then you don't even know what you're talking about. You have to stay with it every month and that's the best way to do it."

In hopes that a tragedy doesn't happen in Lufkin.

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