Local elementary school introduces high-tech security system

ANACORTES, Wash. -- An Anacortes elementary school wants to protect students inside the building by keeping others out.

Mount Erie Elementary school is turning to technology in the wake of the Sandy Hook Massacre. Starting Tuesday, when parents show up to the school, the only way in is to buzz the office and get video and audio permission to enter.

The school, which once had an open-door policy, is now locked.

"I don't know, I think it's a balance of excitement and apprehension," said principal Peter Donaldson.

The excitement is because the security system is new, and the apprehension is because it could be confusing to visitors.

When parents or students push the button, it sparks a feed with the office. If the person is not on a child's contact form, the front desk can deny them access to the building.

Then there are the secretaries who will answer all the calls. If all three office workers are occupied, the call may go unanswered.

It's a big experiment, but many parents say they welcome a cautious approach.

"With everything that's going on these days, you can't be too careful," one parent said.

Sedro-Wolley and Mount Vernon also plan to amp up security by locking doors and installing cameras.

The new system cost Mount Erie roughly $3,000, and many say it is a small price to pay if it will help protect the children.

"This isn't a guarantee of anything like we saw at Sandy Hook, but I think it's an opportunity for us to look at a different level of security," Donaldson said.

Depending on how successful the system goes, they'll look to expand it across the district.