Newly hired Tehachapi Unified School District Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson addressed two discussion items on school safety, security and training options and presented them to board members at the Oct. 8 regular board meeting.
Collaboration with TPD
“My intention of placing this as an information item for you this evening is to hear some feedback from you,” Larson-Everson said of the first item involving the district partnering with Tehachapi Police Department.
Larson-Everson said another active shooter situation practice is recommended on one of the six TUSD campuses and would be held on an evening or weekend when students are not present.
“If the board is interested in pursuing this combined effort, then I would go ahead and invest the time,” said Larson-Everson. She added that the invitation included school administrators, board members, a security team and others.
Board members agreed with the idea.
“It would be very valuable and I think active shooters are becoming more common and we should have preparedness in place," board member Dean A. Markham said.
Board member Jackie Wood echoed the sentiment: “Anything we can do to make our campus safer and gain us all knowledge would be great,” she said.
More information would be provided to board members in the future, the superintendent said.
Run, Hide and Fight
Board members discussed the Run, Hide and Fight protocol in the event of an active shooter on campus. Steps to secure a location, have an exit plan, and how to defend yourself if threatened are part of the nationally recognized plan.
“I’m really passionate about this because the number one priority for the board is the safety of all staff and students,” said board member Joe Wallek.
“TUSD has nothing in place that will physically protect students and staff in the event of a lethal event such as an active shooter," he added. "I think that is what we need to address because right now we don’t have anything in place, with the absence of an SRO (School Resource Officer).”
In response, Larson-Everson said, “One thing I would like to mention to all of you is to keep in mind that Run, Hide and Fight is one strategy and is not intended on the part of the district for that to be the answer to school security. There are many other measures that we have in place, including having our campuses enclosed, having the Raptor System, having staff, each one of us when we are on campus including parents and students being vigilant."
Markham said, “I think it's a great concept and I think it's very vague and needs to be delved into much deeper for it to be effective." He added, “I think we need to, if we are going to look at it, is it needs to be a lot more detailed and the problem with training is if it's not done over and over, it will be forgotten.”
Larson-Everson added that information and feedback from school staff on the item is slated to be brought back to board members at the beginning of next year.