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Parents questioning school security in West Baton Rouge

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PORT ALLEN - School security in West Baton Rouge remains an issue of concern for parents and the parish school board.

At a meeting last night, a board member suggested the schools start using metal detectors and initiate lock down procedures to keep trespassers away and prevent students from bringing weapons onto the campus.

Parents remain concern for their children's safety after a student at Port Allen High School carried an unloaded sawed-off shotgun into school earlier this month. The situation was addressed immediately and no one was hurt.

"If kids want to get something into a school, they will," said parent Mary DePluche.

There are metal detectors at all 10 West Baton Rouge Parish schools, but they remain unused for the most part. Principal of Cohn Elementary School Cassy Brou uses the metal detectors twice a month during unscheduled security checks.

"We think that helps keep them from bringing items that aren't supposed to be here and it diverts some of those potential problems," Brou said.

Parents worry random checks aren't enough.

"If someone comes on campus with a gun, how long would it take an officer to get there to help aid the situation," asked Rev. Gilbert Jenkins.

Superintendent David Carona says the School Board needs to find a happy medium.

"I'm not sure that it's needed," said Carona. "I'm not sure we want to turn school into prison-like atmospheres. Certainly, we want to be safe, but I'm not sure we want to do something like that every day."

School administrators say there is a constant presence of law enforcement on school campuses. That presence will continue until additional security changes are made.

A team of security experts will monitor the situation over the next month and decide whether or not to make changes to the schools in West Baton Rouge.

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