School district makes changes to visitor policy

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MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — School visitors will now have to go through tighter security measures. District leaders say it’s to help students “learn and grow.”

Visitors will need to check in with a state-issued ID. They’ll be given a lanyard to wear around their necks during their entire visit.

The Mattoon School District is no stranger to security concerns. Almost two years ago this September, a student shot another student in the high school’s cafeteria. That student is okay, but some parents say it was difficult to send their children s to school afterward.

Many are happy to see a strict system in place for visitors, but they say tight security can change how a school environment feels.

“I think that unfortunately with that type of progress, making it extra safe makes places seem not like a school, but I think those days are gone,” said grandmother Bonnadelle Willoughby.

If school staff do not see a lanyard around a visitors neck, they’ll direct them to the school office. When visitors leave, they’re required to return their lanyard and sign out. Then they’ll get their ID back.

The school district is still working to install the software. Their first day of school is Friday.

15-year-old Josiah Lyons pleaded guilty to the Mattoon High School shooting. It happened in September 2017. Lyons was sentenced to juvenile detention. If he doesn’t get in trouble, he’ll be out when he turns 21.

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