New school security measures help Columbia parent rest easier

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COLUMBIA - Teachers, students and parents at Blue Ridge Elementary School are getting used to new security measures. 

Over the summer, crews renovated the school, and part of that was adding several new safety precautions, including additional security cameras, more lights in the parking lot and security film, which makes windows bullet resistant. 

Three of Susan Biggs's four children go to the school. She said she goes out of her way to make sure her kids are safe at school. 

"I usually take the extra step as a parent," she said. "I make sure they're dropped off in their class so that way I know where my kids are all times."

Another upgrade at Blue Ridge Elementary was creating a single door for all guests to use.

Visitors like Biggs now have to check in at the front office before they can go to any other part of the building. 

Biggs's oldest son goes to Oakland Middle School. He said he sometimes worries about his siblings, but the new safety efforts make him feel better. 

"If there was a shooting or something, if it just hit the window, nothing would happen," J.T. Biggs said. "Everyone would be safe. It makes me feel a lot better knowing that my siblings are safe going here."

Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said the district is working to improve safety and security at all of its schools. 

Newer buildings already require all visitors to check in with the office before they can access other parts of the schools. The district has plans to renovate older schools to fit this model, too. 

Baumstark said about half of CPS’s buildings use security film on their windows.