CENTRAL POINT, Ore. —With a rise in deadly school shootings across the country, the Central Point School District is taking steps to get ahead of threats. The superintendent says it’s made a multi-million dollar investment over the last several years, to boost safety across each school.
“Safety and security of the kids, I tell them this all the time you are my kids and I’d do anything to protect you,” said Jeff Britton, Crater High School’s head of security.
That’s Jeff Britton’s top priority when he comes into work each day as a security supervisor at Crater High School. The retired Central Point Police officer oversees security on campus.
“A lot of time spent walking the hallways and just making that connection with the kids, they trust me I spend a lot of time helping the kids out,” said Britton.
Thanks to a 2019 bond designed to fund school safety measures, superintendent Walt Davenport says safety is increasing in the district.
“It’s just such an unfortunate world we live in right now in regards to some of the threats that are out there, and we can never be 100% certain it isn’t going to happen in our community and if it does happen we want to be well prepared,” said Superintendent Davenport.
Among some of the big investments are changing all of the locks on classrooms across the district. They lock from the inside and require a key to get in from the outside.
“Teachers have access to getting into their classroom with a key, security has access and the police department has a master key in case of an emergency so if the kids are trapped in a room, police are able to get in without waiting for a key to be delivered,” said Britton.
Britton says the high school is adding more security cameras, and now has 130 of them. The district also has plans to improve the fencing around campus. But the biggest change kids are seeing this year, is the approval of an open-carry security guard on the Crater High School campus.
“It’s also good for visibility, parents drop off their kids they are going to see me and know there is another person armed on campus besides an SRO, the kids see me in the hallway they are used to me and have told me they feel a little more secure,” said Britton.
Superintendent Davenport says given the current environment, these steps are important to make sure students, parents, and faculty all feel safe when they come to school
Davenport says next year, the district is adding significant student mental health and academic support.