How Safe are Local Schools Series Part 1

LEWISTON, ID - The recent shootings at an elementary school in Connecticut have many here wondering, what can be done to ensure that our local students are safe.

The Sandy Hook elementary school shootings have sent waves of fear and concern for schools all over the country.

"What I really struggle with is this elementary school," said Lewiston Schools Superintendent Joy Rapp. "If they would have been rated for security, preparation, everything they would have done in advance, they would have scored extremely high.

On social media sites, veterans and off duty officers are garnering attention, as some have chosen to volunteer their time as watch guards at schools.

"This was a school that was totally prepared, had just enhanced their security system," said Rapp. "And so that's what leaves you with, even if you do your best, I don't know if anyone is immune to having something terrible happen."

Rapp ordered officers to extend their hours this week after the shooting last Friday. And while the officers won't increase their presence once school starts back in January, she says the 20 plus year program is solid and secure.

"We already have a program with the police department where we have two school resource officers," said Rapp. "One is located at the high school and serves our downtown schools. The other is located up here at Sacajawea is visible in that building, and sometimes at Jenifer."

The school district just recently re-examined and approved their safe and secure schools protocol in November that outlines a tactical way to handle these kinds of emergencies.

"There will be continued patrols around the schools," said Lewiston Police Sergeant Ten Piche. "The Lewiston Police Department has a very proactive approach to the safety of not just the community but especially the children and the students in the schools."

Piche urges students, teachers and parents to notify schools or the police department if they see any suspicious behavior. Rapp said the school district has a strong relationship with the Lewiston police department and they'll continue to foster that throughout the school year.

"We will look at and reexamine to make sure that we're doing everything that we can, that makes sense for the Lewiston community, to keep our students safe," said Rapp.

Lock down drills take place about twice a year for Lewiston schools and teachers are required to educate students on safety zones in the classroom that are away from windows and doors.