Parents, officials at odds over school fencing installations


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In an April 2 meeting, the Iowa City School Board approved a plan to spend $400,000 to install fences around the district’s elementary schools, and while its funding will expire by the 2015-16 school year, many members of the district feel the deadline is rushing the project.

Community member Phil Hemingway said he thinks the district should consider alternative uses for the money before cementing a decision.

“We could spend [the money] on other things,” he said. “We have other needs.”

Lack of access to public schools was another issue that concerned Hemingway.

“Our schools are public spaces, and the access to our schools should be equal to that of a park,” he said.

Other community members are concerned with the effectiveness of the proposed fences in preventing attacks from intruders. With access to numerous gates on the fences, some feel this could lead to trampling in the case of emergency evacuation.

However, physical-plant director Duane Van Hemert said he believes the fences will help maintain order in schools.

“Fencing is a tool for administrators to keep track of their kids during the day,” he said.

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