Rhode Island’s Portsmouth School Department is taking steps to improve school security following the fatal shootings of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut.

School officials have approved spending up to $8,000 to make ID badges for school employees and upgrade the intercom system so that announcements can be heard campus-wide.

Superintendent Dr. Lynn Krizic says these changes are basic improvements to increase security in the schools. Currently, there is no protocol that every employee in the Portsmouth school district wear an identification badge.

“So the purchase of this equipment will ensure that we then have the tools to develop a badge so that every employee has a badge. We think that’s an industry standard for schools and businesses,” said Krizic. “Our goal is that on the first day of school, every staff member- custodians, secretaries, teachers, aides—any person who works in the school district will have a badge-- including the superintendent. I think that’s very important.”

The Portsmouth School Department also is forming a safety committee that will review the district's emergency procedures for its four schools. Krizic says the review will include how to respond in the event of a natural disaster, intruders and hostage situations.

“We need to identify in the event of any of those occurrences happening-- what are our procedures, the communication that goes over the intercom speaker,” she said. “Where are student supposed to go in the event of an evacuations-- what additional resources do we possibly need in each of our classroom in our schools?

The safety committee will include school staff members, the Portsmouth police and fire departments, and members of the community.