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COLUMBIA - In the wake of Friday's shooting in Newtown, Conn., Columbia Public Schools discussed the measures it's been taking to make Columbia schools safer.

Superintendent Chris Belcher said that the school district has been implenting new technology and new policies in schools for the past few years. "I would say that we've made changes that have made our schools safer than they were three years ago," Belcher said.

CPS recently hired two retired police officers to head up a new security department. Belcher said they bring expertise and knowledge that makes for more proactive security measures.

Electric locks, better parking lot lighting, and upgrades to the parent alert system are some of the new additions at certain schools. Over the next few years, Belcher said he hopes all of the schools will have these upgrades.

Belcher said the most important thing parents can do is communicate with schools if they have any questions or concerns. "Parents have every right to call, to ask, and to wonder what we're doing. And the more we hear from them, the better we can serve their kids," Belcher said.

He also added that parents should encourage their kids to feel comfortable going to their teachers or administrators if they're having concerns.

CPS sent out a district-wide email to parents Friday evening. It offered adivce on how to talk to kids about the Connecticut tragedy.

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