An East Texas school district is increasing their campus security with armed security guards.
"When events that occurred last year happened, we started looking at every thing we could to improve our safety and security," says Pine Tree ISD assistant superintendent James Skeeler.
Longview police department and Gregg County off-duty officers have been hired as armed security guards by Pine Tree.
"We're paying for it with school district general funds. We always want to improve. And one of the things is the safety of our students and faculty and anyone on our campus," Skeeler says.
New security lock doors have been installed at all campuses, allowing only one monitored entrance to each campus.
"We'll basically guide anyone who comes to our campus to one entry area," he says.
On each Pine Tree campus there is at least one armed security guard. And parents are in full support. Becky Balboa is the primary school principal, and has two of her own children attending Pine Tree schools.
"When we heard about the new security measures Pine Tree was taking to ensure the safety of all of our kids, we were thrilled," she says.
The guards make their presence well-known, patrolling the campuses.
"Obviously it's a positive for our district for our students and anyone that comes in contact on our campuses," Skeeler says.
Why did the school take the measures? They say the reasons are simple: to take no chances with the lives of anyone at their schools.
"When we pull up into that parking lot and we see that armed security guard walking the building, it puts a good feeling in my heart to know that they're going to be safe," Balboa says.
The district also has plans to install a security fence around Pine Tree high school, creating one secure entrance to the campus.
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