Local News

Spokane Public Schools boost security

SPOKANE, Wash. - After the shooting at Freeman High School, many parents are wondering what Spokane schools are doing to keep students safe.

Spokane Public Schools has taken a proactive approach, spending millions over the last few years on security and technology.

In the last three years, Spokane Public Schools has invested $3.5 million boosting security.

“We are doing everything we can to keep kids safe,” said Mark Sterk, Director of Campus Safety for Spokane Public Schools. “We study every shooting that happens across the country.”

Former Spokane County Sheriff Mark Sterk now serves as the Director of Campus Safety for the district. Friday, at Ferris High School, he gave us an idea of what the security boosts look like.

First, all doors are locked except for one. If you want entrance into the school, you have to go to an intercom. Then, office staff screens each visitor. After getting buzzed in, visitors must scan a photo ID.

“Then your name is compared to a database for sex offenders, violent offenders, those kinds of things,” said Sterk.

This entire process is captured on video. There's more than 1,600 cameras spread throughout the district. They are the eyes, but the students are the ears.

“All the early warning signs are very, very typical,” said Sterk. “We try to let our kids know that they can give us information anonymously.”

However, many threats never get reported. And many shooters are students themselves, which is why staff are trained to be vigilant.

“They've all gone through our training, we do run, hide, and fight training with all of our schools. We also talk about school shooters, and what are the characteristics of a school shooter, what should you be looking for.”

Spokane Public Schools have replaced the locks on all classroom doors in recent years so that teachers can lock them from the inside. The district also employs resource officers in all major high schools.