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Parents, students share school safety concerns with Douglas County Board of Education

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- Douglas County residents spoke about safety and security at schools during a Douglas County School Board meeting Tuesday night, one week after a student was killed and eight others were injured at STEM Highlands Ranch.

Parents and students said a closer look at security issues is long overdue and that it was heartbreaking that it took a school shooting to get the district begin creating a safer environment for students.

One Highlands Ranch 14-year-old freshman was among the first to ask the board to do more to protect students in the district. Claudia English blasted the district for spending more on renovating her school's gym than mental health resources.

"Everyday, when I go to the bathroom, I spend my time reading vandalism about school shootings, suicide and even sexual innuendos. That is a concerning issue in itself," English said.

Parents expressed continued concerns for students' safety.

"When I drop off my daughter, who is a 7th-grader at Sagewood Middle school in Parker, I worry all day until I can pick her up. And then I know she’s safe. It's not right that school is no longer a safe place," said parent Marni McMillan.

Parents recommended a number of solutions to the districts, including metal detectors, one-way entrances into schools, armed security guards and allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons.

The school board president said members will take the comments into consideration when trying to figure out how to enhance school security.

The board also said it is already collaborating with other agencies to try to help make schools safer.

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