After news of Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Ketchikan Schools Superintendent Robert Boyle talked with local police, who agreed to spend extra time keeping an eye on schools.
Boyle told the Borough Assembly on Monday that the district has established safety procedures. Those include a lockdown exercise, which schools practice regularly, a sign-in requirement for visitors, and limiting access to one door of each school building.
The exception is Ketchikan High School. There are two public access points at Kayhi because the school district office is at one end of the building.
Boyle said safety is an issue that the district takes seriously.
“I have three jobs,” he said. “The first and foremost important job I have is the physical safety and well-being of students, the second is the psychological environment that we create, it’s got to be healthy and nurturing, and the third is to educate. Fortunately, I spend most of my time on the education part, but I can never overlook the first.”
Assembly Member Alan Bailey told Boyle he was willing to help ensure student safety, and would provide what’s needed to accomplish that goal.
“We need to be there for you, and for the school and for the children,” Bailey said.
Assembly Member Bill Rotecki suggested that the school district review its safety procedures.
“You can have a lot of good procedures, but it’s always a good to do a little audit to make sure they’re being followed,” he said. “Maybe you’re already doing that, but I just wanted to say it. Make sure that the procedures you have are effective, and if we can help, I would be 100 percent in favor of that.”
According to the district, all the school buildings will spend time this week emphasizing safety and reviewing safety plans with staff. The district also suggests that parents monitor children’s exposure to news reports, and watch for behavior changes that could indicate stress.