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Safety is always a priority in area schools | Preston Citizen

Safety is always a priority in area schools

January 15, 2013
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By ROBERT S. MERRILL and RODNEY D. BOAM 

Local school officials in both the Preston and West Side school districts are working to improve emergency procedures in light of last month’s shooting of students and staff at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.

And Col. Jerry Russell, who is retiring at the end of this month as director of the Idaho State Police, will assess and recommend security and safety improvements for all of Idaho’s public schools.

Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter asked Russell to look into the school safety issue on Jan. 4.

Preston Superintendent Joel Wilson said the day after the Connecticut shootings he got with Preston High School resource officer Ken Geddes to discuss the district’s protection plan.

“After I talked to him, I took him before the school board and we gave them an overview of what we have in place,” Wilson said. “We don’t share our plan with everyone, but it’s in place.”

The superintendent said that sometimes students might think they are doing a fire drill, but they are actually doing an active evacuation drill for another issue.

Ken Geddes, Preston School District’s resource officer, discusses a school-safety program with employees at a recent meeting.

“We are always looking for options that will help students be safer in school. We always refer to Officer Geddes and his advice in that regard.

“He is very well thought of by other districts and has helped some of them formulate safety plans.”

West Side Assistant Superintendent Spencer Barzee said during last school year and within the current year, officials at West Side have met with state and county officials to improve and solidify existing emergency procedures.

“We have also been training our own faculty and staff on the best way to handle these unfortunate situations. In addition to this, in the near future we have additional meetings planned with local law enforcement and the administration to revaluate and improve existing procedures,” said Barzee.

This story is sponsored by Animal Medical Clinic.

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