PROVO, Utah -- Kim Hawkins has been at Franklin Elementary School for 20 years, and for the last three years she has been the Principal; she said the safety of her students is always on her mind.
“I want to make sure that when parents are sending their students here, they know that they are in the safest place that they can be and we're going to do everything to maintain their safety,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins was thrilled when a national grant, matched by the Provo School District, provided $1.2 million to strengthen security at all 18 schools. Each school now has cameras and automatic door locks.
“I know that I can lock down the building, I know that I have cameras, I know that I can see doors; if there's someone that I don't recognize, we can call the authorities and get help right away,” Hawkins said.
Provo School District officials said these security improvements are something they've been hoping to get for several years.
"A lot of our schools are older schools built in a time that the safety needs aren't what they are today, and this is the first step we can take to address those needs, make things more secure,” said Caleb Price, Coordinator Communications and Public Relations for Provo City School District.
In addition, two elementary schools in the district had their main offices redesigned to face the front door.
“We can see everything that happens in the front area," Hawskins said. "We can see students coming in. We can see parents coming in, and it has made it very secure here."
Parents said these upgrades give them peace of mind.
"I think it's great," said Karen Phair, a parent who lives in Provo. "I love how you can lock the school down immediately. You don't have to run around and shut the doors down anymore."
Provo School District officials said they are the only district in the state to have this type of technology in all of their schools.