Church implements 'lock-down' security system at school

Published On: Jan 30 2013 05:09:15 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 30 2013 06:49:06 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A local church is increasing security at their parish school to protect its students in lieu of recent school violence.

Our Lady of the Star Catholic Church said it has recently implemented a "lock-down" security system at its preschool and Palmer K-8 Academy.

With 16 security cameras around the school, Principal Linda Earp said she has a real-time view of what is happening in the hallways, cafeteria or gymnasium.

"I do this every day," said Earp. "I go through all of the cameras and I view what's going on in the school. Each time, I can get a different view of what's going on."

Earp said all staff at Palmer K-8 Academy have been fingerprinted and background checked by the school. Teachers are also now required to take a special school safety course and to lock the classroom doors while students are inside.

Every student at the school is also now required to carry a picture badge that lists the names of people who are authorized to pick them up. Earp says if a person is not on that list, they will not be allowed to take the child from the school.

"If their name is not on that, then you're not getting the student," said Earp.

In spite of additional security members to be implemented later this year, Earp said the plan is very popular among the students.

"They look at it as a measure of keeping them safe," said Earp. "In fact, you'll see a lot of my students wave, and I can see them mouth 'Hi Mrs. Earp.'"

Parish Monsignor Daniel Logan said he believes the school can never be too safe.

"I know it might be a little over-reactive, a little too protective," said Logan. "There is nothing more precious than a student."

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