Students heading back to school face tighter security

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:52

    AP - Classroom phones. Locks. Identification badges. Those are just some of the security instruments students may see when they return to class for the start of the new school year. New Jersey undertook an unprecedented look at its public schools over the past several months after a terrorist attack at a school in Russia prompted acting Gov. Richard J. Codey to order security inspections at 3,400 New Jersey schools. With nearly all the inspections completed, many students will notice differences as classes get under way this fall. Students already required to wear identification badges will face stiffer penalties for failing to do so. Also, all but one school door is likely to be locked. Classrooms have already been equipped with phones so teachers can call for help or police can call a classroom. The school inspection teams ran through a checklist containing more than 70 items, including everything from how buses are stored and inspected to evacuation routes. The next step in the schools audit is for the data to be entered online. Then it will be analyzed by the Department of Education, which could create policies and training based on the results. ``What we want to concentrate on is bringing some consistency to what we are doing,'' Susan Martz, a state education director who oversees school safety policy, told The Star-Ledger of Newark. ``We want to be sure that it's not just on paper, but on a regular bases they (school officials) are looking at these things.''