Superintendent: Central schools safe, but can be safer

Monday, January 28, 2013 - 10:58pm

Central school superintendent Mike Faulk laid out his vision for improving school safety at Monday night's board meeting.

Central Community Schools is no different than most school districts in wanting to reexamine its procedures in light of the Newtown, CT, shooting in December.

"We can't think that it won't happen here," Faulk explained. "I'm sure the people at Sandy Hook Elementary didn't think it was going to happen there, either."

Faulk laid out a few simple recommendations the district can adopt, such as taking photos to create new maps of each of its five campuses.

"Because if a responder shows up to any one of our schools," he stated, "and they come upon the building, we have no outside markings, whatsoever."

He also wants to add more resource officers. The district currently has two, and students think it is reassuring to have them around.

"Whenever I go to school in the morning, there are police, like a police car, in the front and I would see them when I leave," said Jessica Hooper, a senior at Central High School. "I don't really see them during school, but I've never felt unsafe at school."

Faulk called for the frequency of drills, both in case of intruders and natural disasters, to increase to one a month of each type. That, the board said, should coincide with specialized training for teachers.

"If I see a guy 100 yards away with a gun," asked school board president James Gardner, "what do I do?"

Faulk said that Central will be responsible about its plans, because he thinks it already has good policies in place. And he'll be realistic about what he can achieve.

Faulk said he will have a few security experts tour the district with him in the next couple of weeks. They will help him make decisions about restricting access points, installing metal detectors, and other opportunities to protect everyone on campus.

"We can't prevent it from happening," Faulk said. "But what we can do is we can be ready to handle the crisis, whether it's large or small. And we can take steps to be able to keep our children and our staff as safe as possible."

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