CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- The next time you go to a school in Chippewa Falls, smile because you'll be on camera!
The school district there has launched a new video intercom system designed to keep students and staff safe.
20 kids and six adults were killed in December, in an attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
It's a nightmare parents across the country pictured themselves in.
“I remember sitting at home that day and crying and thinking of my kids here,” said Tracy Mercier, a mother of two kids that go to Hillcrest Elementary.
Wanting to prevent something similar, the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District took action, reducing the numbers of entrances but also going high tech.
“We have a video intercom system on the main entrance door, at least one in every one of our school buildings, they're monitored by the school office staff,” said Randy Knowlton, the district’s director of buildings, grounds and safety.
Knowlton said the district spent $33,000 to put the cameras in 11 facilities.
The system went live two weeks ago.
Visitors can find the video intercoms stationed outside the main entrances to the buildings.
You press the button and state your business. If you’re a parent, office staff will look up records to verify your identity. They’ll even ask to see a photo ID.
“Once that is confirmed they will be let in and directed to go to the office to sign in and get a visitor's badge,” Knowlton said.
The cameras are just one step in a new safety plan.
“If it's a basketball game for an example, they can get to the gym and get to the restroom and the players can get to the locker rooms, but people will be limited to the rest of the access to the building,” Knowlton said.
He said problems with the system have been minimal.
“Spend the money for the right reason, to accomplish our goal of making the school as safe as possible and still allow as much access to the public as possible,” Knowlton said.
Parents outside Hillcrest Elementary WEAU talked to Monday afternoon were pleased with the new security.
“It makes me happier and I know my kids are safer,” Mercier said.
“It's been a long time coming, it's been discussed by many parents. The kids seem to think it’s kind of neat too so it’s kind of a win win for everybody,” said Jeanene Detterman, a mother of two kids at the school.