A murder-suicide that left a teacher and a student dead prompted security renovations at the North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California.
August 7 was the first day of school for the San Bernardino City Unified School District
A San Bernardino Elementary school received a security make-over following a murder-suicide that occurred at the school back in April.
On April 10, Cedric Anderson, 53, opened fire into his estranged wife’s special needs classroom at North Park Elementary School.
Anderson’s wife, Karen Smith, 53, was killed. The shooter’s gunfire also killed 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez and injured 9-year-old Nolan Brady, who were standing behind Smith, reports CBS Local. Anderson then took his own life.
Immediately following the shooting, the school implemented security changes such as only allowing volunteers who had been fingerprinted through the front office to gain entry into classrooms.
“After I spoke to Virginia Tech, Columbine and Sandy Hook, they all had some of the same advice,” said the school’s principal, Yadira Downing. “It’s not a marathon, it’s a sprint. We have a lot of emotion now, but we want to make the decision after careful consideration.”
Anderson was able to enter the school by telling the front office staff that he was dropping off something for Smith. Smith’s classroom did not have a door — only a curtain stood between him and the classroom full of students.
Anderson had a long history of domestic violence, including threatening to kill his previous wife over the phone.
Security Upgrades and Improvements
The renovations were completed over the summer and cost approximately $1 million.
Aside from fresh paint, an updated color scheme and inspirational leaders featured on the walls, all classroom windows were fitted with tempered glass. Each classroom also received locking steel doors along with an outdoor exit in every room.
All doors can now be locked from the inside by the teachers, giving them the ability to quickly secure their own classroom.
A camera alert system was also installed, allowing staff to see who is trying to gain access to the building before buzzing them in.
“When they walk in it’s a fresh environment, fresh start — a fresh year. So they get to start off with knowing this community loves them,” says San Bernardino City Unified School District Superintendent Dale Marsden.
The classroom where the shooting occurred has been changed into a project room and students that were in the classroom have been moved to a different wing of the school, according to The Sun.
August 7 was the first day of school for the San Bernardino City Unified School District.
All employees returned to North Park on Monday with the exception of two teacher’s aides who witnessed the shooting and helped bring the students to safety.
“Some people are able to move on, but others are still very, very nervous,” says Downing.