8/1/2014

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Clarkston School District superintendent says safety policies are sufficient

Clarkston School District superintendent says safety policies are sufficient
CLARKSTON, WA - The Clarkston School District safety policy is an issue of great importance and concern to many, including administrators and teachers.

It's been more than a month since a horrific shooting took the lives of school children in Newtown, Connecticut. But the question of safety in schools lingers in the air.

"The thing we've heard the most is that we've gotten some concerns about our facilities," said Clarkston School District Superintendent Darcy Weiser. "The ability to lock rooms. The ability to go to a shelter, or place or a lock-down evacuation."

It's a concern that Weisner is actively addressing. Veteran Science Teacher James Snook said his routine hasn't changed since recent events have caused a nationwide call for reform.

"My classroom I've had locked for fifteen years or more, just because I don't want to have to go into the hallway if an intruder's coming in," said Snook. "I like to be prepared."

Preparation is a key element in school safety and for some school districts around the country, that means arming teachers with a gun. Weisner said they stick to the regulations that are set forth by the Washington State legislature.

"We would follow their guidelines in Olympia if they dropped some bills and gave schools authority to do something different then we're already doing," said Weisner.

At this time, Weisner said teachers and students are allowed to carry spray devices like mace and pepper spray, but only for self-defense.

"As far as a local school district, we believe that the policies and procedures that are in place are sufficient," said Weisner.

However English teacher David Piper doesn't think his students should carry those weapons on school grounds.

"Absolutely not," said Piper. "I think that they're too young, they're not legally allowed to purchase those things and so no I don't believe that they should be allowed to do that."

Weisner said students between the ages of fourteen and eighteen must declare the devices if they bring them to school.

In the Clarkston School District, bringing a firearm to school as a student, could result in a one-year expulsion and legal trouble.
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