As I shared last Friday, I am so appreciative of all those who came out for our community discussion on school safety last week. As promised, video of the entire session can be accessed on our You Tube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px1CIhuN6fI. Run time is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
There were a number of excellent comments, suggestions and questions throughout the evening. Two of the most common threads of comments was that of student preparedness and communication. There were questions in terms of the number and types of drills our students do particularly at the elementary level. Included in these comments was the knowledge that our students might be lacking in terms of preparation for the drills. These comments were duly noted and conversations are under way at each school to revisit and revise our intruder drill practices.
The second common theme was that of communication. My take away is that we all need to streamline our communications in terms of making it more efficient and effective. Along with this topic was making sure we precede with any changes we make at the school with ample notice to parents. Just as with the drills, conversations are already underway of how to make our communications more effective.
Other topics that were covered over the course of the event included: metal detectors (and wands), arming staff, check-in procedures for parties at the elementary school, enhanced school counseling programs including adult and student mentors, school lockdown procedures, and expanded security guard/school resource officers.
Metal detectors/wands – I shared my concern that metal detectors at our doors would abnormally increase wait time to get in the building. We could have 100+ students waiting to get inside. This would make for an inviting target for anyone planning to do harm to the school. We are exploring the use of wands and the high school may institute a pilot program in the coming days.
Providing opportunities for select staff members to be armed – While I consider all options to be on the table, I shared that I would have to be convinced the proper training, not only in weapon usage, but in critical response and intervention techniques be considered as well. At the present time this option is not under active consideration.
Lockdown procedures - All measures and drills are under continual review. School district safety personnel are currently part of regional and state discussions concerning the most effective lockdown procedures.
School counseling programs- All of our schools have already begun intense scrutiny of all services offered in this area. School leadership teams are reviewing schedules to make sure as much time as possible is being allocated to these services.
Expanding security personnel – We are actively pursuing this option. My goal would be to have a full time security officer at each school in addition to our districtwide school resource officer (SRO).
There were other comments too numerous to mention. I have tried to address those that came to the forefront. I opened the evening by talking about the preventive, defensive, and reactive measures all of our schools take to ensure student safety. I encourage you to watch the video if you have time. I invite you to share thoughts with me at any time via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, regular mail, 709 West Stockton St. Edmonton KY 42129, by phone 270-432-3171, or in person. Together we can and will make a difference.