OPINION: Security steps give necessary peace of mind

As the new school year begins this week, many parents will revisit a state of worry over their child’s safety. As revealed in this weekend’s Closer Look by reporter Lashana Harney, U.S. News and World Report found one in three U.S. parents fear for their child’s safety at school. That’s the highest level of concern in two decades, and understandably so.

With news of school shootings on the rise, districts across the nation have spent the summer beefing up security and safety measures.

Clark County Public Schools is no exception.

Multiple safety protocols and security measures were implemented over the summer. Some of the key takeaways from the Closer Look, which can be read in full in the Aug. 11-12 issue of The Sun or at winchestersun.com, are:

— All CCPS employees will now carry a lanyard that doubles as a key. A district-wide system tracks the ID badges, so when an employee scans the keycard to get into a building, the system tracks who they were and what time they entered the building. CCPS also restricts keycards to certain times of the day for some employees.

— A new radio system directly connects dispatchers to district employees. With a press of a button, local law enforcement can be notified of an issue at any of the schools and be dispatched before a 911 call is even made.

— Buildings have been fitted with a new surveillance system that can be accessed by law enforcement giving them a view of what is happening in the school in case of an emergency.

— Mental health services in the schools will be expanded with two new agencies, KVC Behavioral Health and Bluegrass Comprehensive Care, now offering services along with Mountain Comprehensive Care.

— Glass vestibules are now part of the entrance at every school. Visitors must first buzz into the front office with an intercom outside the school and then ID and other information will be verified before they can enter the school from the vestibule.

— New security gates have been placed at GRC. A security guard will still be present at the parking lot entrance.

— CCPS employees have gone through various trainings throughout the summer to test readiness for an active shooter situation.

— Three new School Resource Officers have been added for the district.

— CCPS is now part of the S.T.O.P online tippling where parents or students can report concerns like bullying, threats of violence, drug use and other risky behaviors.

While parents will likely still worry about their child’s safety, these measures will hopefully provide some peace of mind.

Nothing is more valuable than the safety of our children and those who spend their days teaching and nurturing them. Each of these measures are worthy investments for the district.

They are an important step to creating an even more solid and comprehensive safety and security plan for the district. As administrators noted, more measures are in the works and will hopefully be put in place soon.

The key to any safety and security protocol is that teachers, staff and students are well aware of how to respond. Regular drills, training and educational sessions will be a vital additional step to making our district a safe place for students to learn, grow and prosper.

 

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. The board is comprised of publisher Michael Caldwell and managing editor Whitney Leggett. To inquire about a meeting with the board, contact Caldwell at 759-0095.