Local school districts evaluate security after Sandy Hook shooting
School safety concerns were the topic of a town hall meeting Wednesday night in Franklin, with parents, police and school officials sharing their suggestions on the issue.
Ever since the deadly shooting in Connecticut, school officials have been closely examining their safety policies and procedures.
“This is just a chance for us to talk to our community, listen to their concerns, and share what we’re doing,” said Dr. David Clendening, Superintendent of Franklin Community School Corporation.
“What we have asked the officers to do is to have a visual presence at the schools,” said Doug Cox, Johnson County Sheriff.
But some parents think more needs to be done.
“I think they should have some kind of keyless fingerprint pad, to get in or out of our schools,” said parent Jerry Buck.
“You can come and go pretty easily, unfortunately,” said parent Marcy Stewart, who attended the meeting Wednesday night. “They have to get the front door secured, that has to happen.”
“That should have been done over Christmas (break) in my mind,” said Denise Strait, whose daughter will attend kindergarten in the fall.
“I’m excited for her, and I’m terrified for her,” she said.
“We definitely need something in place, to be more proactive than we are right now,” said Bill Doty, Director of Operations for the Franklin Community School Corporation.
District officials said they hoped to have a buzzer system in place to secure the front doors later this semester.
“I think they just want to make sure the kids are safe, that’s the number one thing,” said Dr. Clendening.
But what’s the answer? Some hope the state legislature will approve a plan to provide more funding for school resource officers across the state.
“I think that’s the direction we need to go,” said Sheriff Cox. “I don’t think you’re going to find anybody (targeting) a school that has an armed police officer in the schools.”
Still, others have far different ideas, like teachers being armed at school.
“I see nothing wrong with that,” Buck said. “They’d have to be legally licensed.”
Franklin’s superintendent told Fox59 the district’s plan would not involve teachers, but Clendening said they were glad to hear a wide range of ideas from parents and other community members.
“We’re all affected by it across the country,” said Deputy Police Chief Chris Tennell. “Regardless of which schools it’s happening in, we’ve got to assume it’s going to happen here next, and how are we going to respond when it does?”
The Franklin Community School Corporation plans to hold another town hall forum next Tuesday evening, at 6:30 p.m. at Webb Elementary School in Franklin.