La Crosse schools beef up security

Several La Crosse schools are beefing up security in the wake of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Sara Kujak has two daughters who go to elementary school at School of Technology & Arts I.

Last week, her girls brought home a newsletter outlining new security measures the school is taking, starting Monday.

“It’s about time. You know, it’s so easy to get into so many different areas of the school that, even before all these horrible things have been happening, you wonder. You wonder who’s walking into the school and how easy it is to walk in. So I’m so grateful that they’re actually doing this,” said Kujak.

Among other schools in the La Crosse School District, Hamilton Early Learning Center and SOTA I — which share a building — are now locking the front doors for most of the day.

Visitors have to get buzzed in, and a security camera is watching.


“When the buzzer outside rings, then someone from the inside, usually one of our administrative assistants, actually has a monitor — a screen that he or she looks at — and they’re able to get a face on that particular person who’s buzzing to get in, and then also has the capacity to ask that person who they are and what their business is in the school today,” said Randy Nelson, superintendent of La Crosse schools.

While it might mean standing out in the cold a little longer, Kujak said it’s worth the wait.

“I think that convenience kind of rules our society. So it’s very convenient for us to be able to come into any door that we want to, exit anywhere we want to. But for the safety of the kids, I think that an inconvenience is definitely okay,” said Kujak.

Buzzer systems are being installed at some other schools in the district over the next month.

Teachers and staff members can still come and go as they please with their key cards.

Staffers at all schools are being urged to be vigilant about anyone they see who they don’t recognize and who is not wearing a visitor badge.