Spokane Public Schools learn from Florida shooting

Spokane Public Schools learn from Florida shooting

The school shooting in Florida has sparked more concern and questions from local parents about what’s being done locally to protect students.

Spokane Public Schools Director of Campus Security Mark Sterk said there are already extensive measures in place to protect students, but he and other staff members learn from shootings across the nation to develop programs and procedures in Spokane.

“We critique each and every one of these events. We want to learn from those. We want to look at maybe where some of the failures were so that we can improve our systems and not have to experience the same things,” Sterk said.

The safety measures are clearly on display at North Central High School, where Sterk pointed out a secure single point of entry where visitors have to get buzzed in by office staff. There are also security cameras and a badge pass program.

But, even those can’t stop every danger. Last week at North Central High School, a man somehow got in, wandered around and stole from students. The district believes he came in during an event or a student let him in who probably didn’t know the man didn’t belong there.

That’s one example that showcases the importance of what Sterk believes is one of the most useful tools at school, the resource officers.

“In the Florida incident, those kids knew. They were talking about it afterward [saying] we knew he was going to do this. We felt like he was going to do this. Those are the kinds of things that we want the kids to come forward and feel free to share with their resource officer,” Sterk said.

Sterk says school security is and will remain a top priority in Spokane.

“The school district has invested $4 million over the last three years to put systems in place to keep our kids and staff safe. So, the district has not taken it lightly. It’s been a big investment,” Sterk said.