School Safety: Safety Measures

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CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) -- "Slide 'em under the doors. Put your pin in." The Barracuda Intruder Defense System blocks intruders from getting into classrooms. And Taylor County recently put them in every school they have. And they did it without raising taxes. The superintendent put a request out on his personal Facebook page and on the school system's website, asking for donations to buy the Barracuda Intruder Defense System.

"And we had a huge response from the community members," said Taylor County Schools Superintendent Charles Higdon, Jr. "All the stakeholders in the community got behind that. And within a week we had enough to purchase one for the entire district... and really we didn't have to twist any arms or beg anyone. We actually ended up having more donations than what we even requested."

And with that extra money they added extra video cameras, door-locking systems, and other student safety measures. "Our educational vision is to have students prepared to do something when they finish up here," said Higdon, "whether it's going straight into their job, going into a career pathway, going to a vocational school, or going into college. We want to have them prepared for life, in our school district. But on the meantime, we want to make sure that we can assure all parents that their kids are gonna be safe."

Kristin Jewell, Taylor County Primary Center Guidance Counselor
"We can do small group lessons for students who are feeling fearful," said Taylor County Primary Center Guidance Counselor Kristin Jewell, "and we have a group called Worry Warriors and that's for students who just have a general sense of worry so we know that those are students who may be more easily triggered when they hear about things like school shootings. And then just on an individual basis... We partner with Kids SpOt in the community and they provide mental health counseling."

"It's a very difficult conversation to have as a parent," said Jennifer Godsey with The Kids SpOt Center, a mental health counseling facility in Campbellsville. "My nine-year-old is aware of what's happening in the communities you know, and so she wants to know what she can do in order to stay safe at school too. And so the fact that the school system has taken the initiative to be able to provide these for schools just, it's very reassuring as a parent."

And Jewell says the students are doing great. "They bounce back. They're resilient. They adapt easily. We spent a little bit of time in our drills talking about the Barracuda. And now they've moved on... This is one more reason that you're safe in this school. You can feel safe here because we have adults in this building who care about you and how to protect you. We keep all our doors locked, and we have a Barracuda if we have to use it that will keep someone out."

Jennifer Godsey: "As a parent it's heartbreaking to know that that's what's required of the schools now in order to keep our kids safe."
Gene Birk: "But they're doin' it."
Jennifer Godsey: "They're doin' it. And doin' it well."

The safety measures also help the Taylor County Schools faculty and staff, by allowing them to concentrate on educating the children, without worrying about their safety. They say they are very grateful to the community for their strong support of their efforts in the classroom.

And Superintendent Higdon says if other administrators and leaders across the commonwealth reach out to their communities, those communities would support these safety measures as well.

The safety measures also help the Taylor County Schools faculty and staff, by allowing them to concentrate on educating the children, without worrying about their safety. They say they are very grateful to the community for their strong support of their efforts in the classroom.

And Superintendent Higdon says if other administrators and leaders across the commonwealth reach out to their communities, those communities would support these safety measures as well.



 
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