Tacoma Public Schools improves security equipment throughout district to increase safety

The first day of school will come with increased security for kids in Tacoma. All middle schools and high schools within Tacoma Public Schools are now equipped with surveillance cameras, intercom systems and entry-card badge readers.

Officials said voters supported the district’s 2020 construction bond, which paid for the security updates. The improved safety puts parents like Alexa Long at ease.

"I’m a lot more comfortable now because not just anybody can walk into the schools," said Long, who has four children enrolled in the district.

Long’s son, Brydon, will be entering seventh grade this academic year. The teen will learn many new things, but he said one lesson that has been consistent throughout his entire education is how to respond during an active shooter situation near his school.

"There’s been like a bunch of gunshots and stuff around the schools, so we just go on lockdown. And after that, or the day next, we talk about it in our classes," said Brydon.

TPS recognized the need to increase the protection of its students, teachers and staff.


2 teens, 1 man arrested in shooting death of 16-year-old Foss High School student

"No parents are prepared, nor should they be prepared, to bury their child." A 16-year-old who was shot and killed in Tacoma has been identified as a Foss High School student.

There were 51 school shootings in the U.S. in 2022, the most in a single year. Concerns are growing about guns getting into the hands of young people, including teens in Tacoma.

"It’s normalized now. I have so much empathy for those kids as well because they think that’s the only way and it’s definitely not," said Meilani Corona, who works in before and after-school care at a TPS elementary school.

Corona said the district’s added layer of protection comes at a critical time.

"In this society, I feel like it’s super important to have that because schools are not as safe as they were. So, I feel like that added extra measure of security is going help the kids feel a lot safer because they know what’s going on," said Corona. "That’s my main goal working with kids, just making sure they’re safe. Because you can’t learn or grow from not being safe."

Stacy Page, the district’s facilities communications manager, said security installations at all of the elementary schools just started. The goal is to finish by 2024.