First day at I.J. Holton under tighter security

First day at I.J. Holton

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AUSTIN, Minn. — Many students in Minnesota started their school year Tuesday and safety is on the minds of those in charge.

Students walked into I.J. Holton Intermediate School for the very first time.

“I think it’s a really fun school,” said 5th grade student, Boone Carlson.

The school that specializes in science, technology, engineering, arts and math still has that new school smell.

“My favorite part is that you get your own laptops,” Carlson said.

A new building is not the only thing these students are walking into; new safety technology greets them as well.

“When you come into the main entrance, there is a system that you need to buzz and then that buzzing system will let you into the office area and then you need to check in and there’s another door that lets you into the main part of the school,” said Principal Jean McDermott.

Once you get in, there are eyes watching over certain areas.

“We have 14 cameras that are mostly focused on the exits and entrances to the school so we can see people who are coming and going and those are live and watching everything,” McDermott said.

If they see someone that does not belong, school leaders have technology that is brand new to the district.

“Should something come through the front door that is alarming or is a dangerous situation, there are doors that come into all of the classroom areas which are just on one side of the building and the secretary or whoever’s in the office is able to push a button and all of those doors close throughout the school and are locked down,” McDermott said.

Plus there is one safety tool that does not involve any high-tech equipment.

“This school is very wide open, so the security comes in the fact that we’re able to supervise and see everything that’s going on so there are no places to hide, we can see what’s coming and that makes the students more secure,” McDermott said.

Whether or not they have security on their minds, these students know they have got a pretty neat place to learn this year.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and enjoying this new school,” Carlson said.

McDermott said once everyone adjusted to all the changes, everything went smoothly on day one of classes.

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