Carson High taking extra precautions for Columbine anniversary.

Administrators and security personnel at Carson High School have taken extra precautions for today's anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.

Vice Principal Harvie Walker said since that tragic day one year ago, 16 video cameras, extra security and increased patrols have been added on campus.

"We err on the side of safety," he said. "We fit the middle-class, suburban demographics associated with the other schools that have had these problems."

Today students will be met with an extra presence from the sheriff's department. Deputies will be on hand before and after school as well as between classes.

"We'll have some police units and keep an extra eye out," Walker said.

With 32 cameras discreetly scanning the halls and parking lots, monitoring the activities of the 2,300 students, unusual activity is quickly picked up and recorded. Security officers can operate the cameras by remote controls and zoom in on suspicious people.

"If we want to, we can pick up a license plate," said one officer, demonstrating the technology from the security office.

Walker said officers have a good idea of what kind of vehicles and people look out of place on campus. Officers are on patrol in the parking lot and can be alerted to suspicious activities.

The result is a greater awareness of what students and outsiders are up to on campus. The psychological effect is that students know that Big Brother could be watching, he said.

"Since the cameras, the results have been dramatic," Walker said. "Fights are down 60 percent."

The Columbine massacre was the worst school shooting in United States history. The body toll rose to 15 that day when two gunmen opened fire on fellow students and then turned the guns on themselves.

Worldwide attention turned to Colorado when news of the killings was broadcast. From rural communities to the halls of Congress, an inventory was taken of schools across the country to judge their vulnerability to a similar attack.

In Carson City, increased security was visible to students as soon as the 1999-2000 school year started.

A comprehensive crisis plan was developed that addressed almost every possibility from hostage-taking to natural disasters. A $27,000 grant was awarded to the school for installation of the new video cameras.

In addition to the security personnel, a sheriff's deputy is assigned to the school. Elementary and middle schools also share a deputy.


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