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POLICIES OK'D REGARDING WEAPONS, VIOLENCE

The North Collins School Board gave its approval to several policies Wednesday, including those on unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds and threats of violence in school.

School Superintendent Jack Mann said that although the district has never had any problems with violence or weapons possession on school grounds, the state-mandated school policy is in place as a precaution and as a guide if such a circumstance should occur.

The district will also adhere to a state mandate for fingerprinting of new school employees, effective July 1.

In addition to the state-mandated safety precautions, the district is placing motion detectors in school buildings and some classrooms. Officials are also considering the use of a student swipe card system and push-button access for teachers to monitor safety better.

Safety features such as limited-access doors have been integrated into the capital improvement project under way in the district. New doors without outside handles are scheduled to be installed. They are designed to allow only one primary entrance to the school.

"We are trying to limit the accessibility and yet still make (the school buildings) accessible to the parents and community, so we are walking a fine line," Mann said.

The board is examining whether to remove two high school tennis courts to provide 56 more parking spaces. The courts are not being used in any sports program, and they need repairs.

Removal of the courts would end any hope of reviving a tennis team, according to Mann. "I realize the move may be controversial, but this is something we need to consider," he said.

The board said the district's state school report card will be available online March 14.

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