Pasco working on more school safety upgrades

Pasco working on more school safety upgrades
PASCO, Wash. - Pasco continues to upgrade the security of the schools. A number of recent audits gave administrators more food for thought on improvements.

Norma Cook is just like any other parent. She wants to make sure her kids are safe while at school. Norma counts on the Pasco school district to do their best.

She said,"It gives me some comfort but then I'm still thinking what if?"

School leaders in Pasco have pored over data collected during three separate safety audits. They are developing more plans using feedback given by first responders and an outside firm.

Assistant principal Brian Baker said, "We don't want to be caught off guard, so I believe that our teachers, our staff, our students feel they're prepared for many situations."

At the top of the list keeping intruders out of classrooms, that means lockdowns.

Administrators are taking a page from Chiawana High. Soon all schools will have automatic locks that work like a panic button and can only be "deactivated" by one person in charge.

Principal John Wallwork said, "When our first responders say it's time, it's safe, then we can release that."

Officials are also taking extra steps to make sure outside classrooms, like portables are safe. They already lock from the inside. Without windows it's hard to tell what's going on outside. Teachers can use these peepholes to make sure it's safe to open the doors.

All schools hold safety drills monthly.

Norma said, "Practicing for these horrible, horrific things, then the kids, it shouldn't be a normal thing but then they're a little bit more prepared.

"They all know the news and they know everything that's going on out there and so that's kinda scary for our kids," said Wallwork.

The district has spent more than $300,000 so far on the safety upgrades.

"I don't think there should be a price, I think it's an obvious thing to do," said Norma.

Administrators say the community and school board give the district the money and support they need to keep your kids safe.

The schools under construction will have a double glass door entry that will lock in visitors until they're cleared.

More cameras will be added districtwide.