Kalispell schools review, increase security measures
Kalispell School District 5 is making some changes to school safety procedures and policies in the wake of school shootings.
"We have been gradually changing the locks at all of our schools to ensure that they're all interior locking doors," said Superintendent Darlene Schottle. "And to ensure the fact that if a door is pulled shut it automatically locks right away."
Schools practice emergency lockdown drills regularly - part of those involve a card system
"There are symbols and signs that school administrators, faculty members, and teachers are aware of and can utilize to signify to us, first responders, if that threat is in their classroom or not," explained School Resource Officer Jason Parce.
The district also has two School Resource Officers, in place since the 1999-2000 school year. At any given time, Officer Jason Parce and Officer Cory Clarke are within a 5 minute distance or less to the 11 public and private schools they patrol.
And heightened police presence is certainly noticed - "There's never been a documented school shooting where there's been a school resource officer or an armed law enforcement officer on campus," said Parce.
With these measures in place, Schottle is confident they're taking the right steps to ensure proper safety for everyone in the district.
"Obviously we want our schools to be a safe and secure environment," said Schottle. "And trying to find that balance about how to do that and still have it be a public building. There's a tough balance that we need to work through in all of our schools."