Safety a top priority for county schools

A school shooting in Connecticut has made parents more aware of what goes on in the schools their children attend everyday. Hutchinson County superintendents are here to put parents at ease during these hard times and explain what steps they take to secure their school.“We are all saddened by the recent tragic events, and our hearts and prayers go to the children, parents, and community of Newtown, Connecticut.“Student safety is our foremost priority. We are maintaining constant watchfulness. Over the past year, we have added many security measures at our schools. We have added security cameras, the Raptor visitor monitoring system, and caller-id at all school offices. We limit access points to schools, and visitors are required to check-in the front offices. We have two School Resource Officers (SRO’s) working in the district. Emergency management procedures are in-place, and our schools practice implementing the procedures. Statistically, schools are one of the safest places a child can be, and we constantly look for opportunities to make our schools even safer.If parents or community members have questions or concerns, feel free to contact me or the principal of your child’s school,” said Borger ISD Superintendent Chance Welch.Fritch superintendent Jim McClellan, stated “ We are trying to be secure and safe by having visitors wear an ID badge, and the elementary has a magnetic entrance. Refresh and remind is where we are at. I recently met with the staff to tell them what they needed to do to be safe. It is a tragedy that cannot be prevented.” He continued to say, “ It is difficult to prevent that type of event without facilities where the students are constantly exposed. We are going to just have to learn how to identify a threat and get someone here to stop it from happening.”PSPCISD Superintendent Bill Wiggins explained how all doors to the buildings in his district are locked except the entrance door where the front office can see you come in. You must have a visitors pass before you fully enter the school and you must check out when you leave. “ Naturally we are more aware. I will be reviewing the emergency plans for any needed updates or changes. Annually we hire an auditor to come in and look at everything and give us a list of things we need to improve. The only thing we can do is use everything in our power to have a safe environment for the kids.”Things will happen and schools can only take a certain amount of safety rules within the schools. But teachers are reviewing emergency plans and have become more aware of surroundings.Everyone, including our local superintendents are praying for the families and remembering the children of Newtown, Conn. during these hard times.