Area Districts Release Statements Following Texas School Shootings
Following the horrific news of the school shootings in Uvalde, Texas, we reached out to the Public Information Officers of the Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco schools
We asked what specific security measures they have in place
Last evening, we know school officials were taking part in their regular school board meetings, and likely were discussing with administration officials concerning the Uvalde situation. We hope to have some specific information sometime today (Wednesday).
Kennewick the first District to release an official statement
Kennewick Superintendent Traci Pierce released this statement, which was also emailed to parents who subscribe to KSD email updates:
"As a school district, we are devastated by the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families, friends, colleagues and community members dealing with this tragic and senseless loss.
I want to assure you that the safety of students and staff is our top priority in the Kennewick School District, and I want to outline some of the safety measures that are in place in our schools and facilities.
We work closely with the Kennewick Police Department on all aspects of safety and security, and we have Kennewick Police SROs (school resource officers) in our middle schools and high schools. We regularly conduct emergency drills for students and staff in our schools, and we conduct staff training to ensure that our employees know what to do in an emergency. This includes active shooter and situational awareness training for staff.
We’ve invested in facility security in our schools, including building secure vestibules that regulate access to the buildings. All of our buildings have security cameras, and we have a Vector Alert system that allows students, staff, families and community members to report safety concerns.
Additionally, we’ve added mental health counselors to our high schools through a partnership with Comprehensive Healthcare and we are expanding to middle schools as well.
I know that news of the tragedy in Texas is painful and difficult for everyone. Our school counselors can help provide resources for families and students who may need additional support. "
As a parent in the KSD, I have seen the security in place at area schools over the years--not just in Kennewick. For example, at Highlands Middle School where our daughter goes, once you enter the main entrance, there is a heavy metal door that can only be accessed by key swipe card or other security number code--known only to school staff.
The rest of the office is arranged so that any potential intruder would have to navigate several offices and doors to even access the main portion of the school, and every time I have been there the KPD School Resource Officer is present. His office is less than 30 feet from the main entrance. Outside doors are locked, and I have routinely seen a badge-wearing school official make a patrol outside the school at frequent intervals.
At sporting events, I have seen school officials with radios monitoring the playfields. One time during one of our daughter's softball games, a student who was expelled was spotted on school grounds. Two administrators quickly responded and escorted the student away from the area.
There is little we can do to escape the sadness of this mind-boggling horrific crime, but do know our area schools take security VERY seriously. It's also up to us as parents to keep an eye out for suspicious happenings in and around our schools when we are present.
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