Central Point SD Superintendent: We used to practice fire & earthquake drills, now there are school shooters

SOUTHERN OREGON, —Local educators, reflecting on another school shooting tragedy, and trying to plot a course forward. The death toll from Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, now sits at 21 people. 19 young children, and two teachers.

In the aftermath, as they deal with heavy hearts, school leaders Wednesday are focusing on their own security protocols, and how we can prevent it, from happening here. It’s been only one day since the mass school shooting devastated the small tight-knit Texas community.

But for local school districts, who deal with the possibility of these sorts of threats,  Tuesday was all too real. In the wake of yet another deadly American school shooting, southern Oregon school officials are once again dealing with the unthinkable.

“Even though an incident like this being so far removed in Texas, really the nation as a whole comes together and it really hits home because we all have kids in our schools in our local communities,” said Central Point Superintendent, Walt Davenport.

Whether it’s Columbine, Sandy Hook, or Parkland, horrific mass shootings have somehow become increasingly common in America, something not lost on Central Point Superintendent, Walt Davenport.

“The shift for me in my education career has been really from earthquake drills and fire drills to this other threat which is school violence school shooter, bomb threats those things have become much more I hate to say this routine,” said Davenport.

Schools now have beefed up security, with alarms, cameras, emergency response buttons and safety drills. School Resources Officers also have an increasingly important presence on campuses.

“We go through and we practice what we would do in an event like this, the police department does, the SRO does, we do drills and crisis planning with the staff we talk about before the event, during the event, and after the aftermath and reunification piece,” said SRO, Mike Jackson.

On Wednesday, the Central Point School District increased its law enforcement presence around schools to ease parents’ anxiety. The district’s therapists and psychologists were also told to be on alert for students or staff who may need support. But Davenport says there was no direction from his administration to bring up Tuesday’s tragedy in classrooms.

“As far as when it comes up in the classroom we encourage the teachers to utilize those resources for when students have questions,” said Davenport.

The Medford School District sent an email to staff and families Tuesday night. It said in part, “Events like this are not only tragic and painful but can often lead to anxiety and fear felt by our entire school community.”

“Our top priority, always is the students and staff safety, at the end of the day, it comes down to human beings taking care of each other,” said MSD Superintendent Bret Champion.

As the community mourns the loss, all our local schools are asking for your help moving forward. The goal is to ensure our kids are safe.

“The bottom line is, if you see something, say something, students and families staff that’s where we can contribute most, be alert, and know what’s going on,” Ron Havniear, Director of Facilities & Leadership at MSD.

The schools also tell me throughout the year they participate in what’s called an Alice drill to prepare for these situations. It stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

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Jenna King
NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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