CK School District plans to pump up security measures

After the recent massacre at Virginia Tech, security protocols at schools across the nation have been in the hot seat and Central Kitsap School District is no different.

With new details about the shooting in Virginia surfacing each day, CKSD Director of Operations Dirk Gleysteen said the district is going to reexamine the lockdown process prior to the 2007-08 school year.

“We need to take a look and we need to have an alternative to lockdowns,” Gleysteen explained. “So we have more than one (option) for response in the event of an (intruder) situation.”

Gleysteen added that a group will be designated to address security research for the school district and will research both in general and in response to the Virginia Tech shootings, to draft revisions and take and implement those revisions in the schools.

“(Security problems) happen differently and raise different issues that the previous (safety) plan doesn’t entirely cover,” Gleysteen added.

Currently, the plan across the district if there is an intruder involves alerting teachers and students via the school intercom system and announcing the locklive down. Teachers then close and lock their doors, draw the shades over the windows, remind students to remain quiet and have them move away from the door. Gleysteen said typically, before students and teachers are alerted, if there is a suspicious individual on the school campus the principal will call the district office to alert them of the situation.

“Anything can happen at any time,” said Central Kitsap High School Principal John Cervinsky.

At Klahowya Secondary School, if there is an intruder on the campus but not inside the school, administrators will try and contact the person to see if they are a threat. If they cannot contact them, or the intruder runs away, the building goes on lockdown, however students can move freely from inside. If there is an intruder inside the school, then teachers and students go on full lockdown mode in each individual classroom.

“If what happened at Virginia Tech happened at Klahowya, we would’ve definitely been on full lockdown,” said KSS Principal Ryan Stevens. “I feel the school is extremely safe, there are a lot of variables when it comes to school security.”

With recess and physical education classes often held outside in nice weather, security of these students and staff also are a concern. Cervinsky said for the younger children, playground monitors often have two-way radios connecting them to administrators in case of an emergency. He added that some secondary school teachers and coaches also will have radios for communication abilities.

“We think about it, we work on it and we worry about it,” Cervinsky added on school security. “There’s not the time or adequate resources to prepare for every possibility.”

CKHS protocol for a lockdown, similar to the district, will alert teachers via school intercom and continue in the lockdown process. Cervinsky said although sometimes schools will get calls from other schools about a potential security threat rumor, however he said administrators will often either call the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office to confirm or request additional security from other schools.

“The safety of our students and staff is uppermost in our minds,” said CKSD Superintendent Greg Lynch. “It is our priority to provide comfortable, supportive, and safe schools in which to learn.”

Eight tips for talking to children about school safety

(From Central Kitsap School District E-News)

1) Listen to children and allow them to express their concerns and fears.

2) Reassure children that you, their friends, their school and their communities are focused on their safety.

3) When discussing security events with children, limit the amount of information to basic facts.

4) Do not lie to children when they ask if this could happen to them, share with them that it is unlikely this will happen to them and reiterate how the community is focused on their safety.

5) Parents, caregivers and teachers should be cautious about letting children watch or listen to news that is discussing or showing carnage.

6) With older children, do not let them focus too much on graphic details, rather discuss their feelings and concerns and talk to them directly about the issue.

7) Although teens and pre-teens are more mature, reassure them of their safety and your efforts to protect them.

8) Be on the lookout for physical symptoms of anxiety children may demonstrate including headaches, excessive worry, stomach aches, nightmares and trouble sleeping or eating.

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