After the Newtown shooting rampage, Tennessee's Dickson County pledged to spend $500,000 on classroom barricades and a surveillance system at its school buildings—enough money to pay for 14 first-year teachers.
"The school shooting up in Connecticut gave us a chance to stop and review things," the county's mayor, Bob Rial, said in a telephone interview. "You are always worried about that person on the fringe."
The slaughter that left 20 children and six educators dead 11 months ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School unleashed a wave of concern that is prompting officials from California to New Jersey to direct tax dollars toward security measures in hopes of protecting against a threat as rare as it is terrifying.
Almost 90 percent of U.S. school systems have made changes to their facilities or security policies since the Sandy Hook shooting, according to a survey of 600 districts that will be published next month in Campus Safety Magazine, a trade publication. Annual spending on school security systems is projected to jump to $4.9 billion in 2017 from $2.7 billion last year, in part because of mass killings like the one in Newtown, according to IHS, an Englewood, Colorado-based research company.