‘We are safer now’: Central Valley School District details student safety protocols

SPOKANE, Wash. — School safety measures have come a long way over the years, and districts will continue refining them.

Since the Uvalde school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers, the Central Valley School District says parents are reaching out with questions about safety protocols, but also with ideas on how to ensure campus safety.

Brian Asmus, the school district’s security and safety director, says they are looking into some of the ideas they’re given.

“[We are] seeing if they are something that will work, if they’re feasible, if it’s something that we can put in place. Does it make sense? So, we’re kind of really early in the early stages of some of those,” Asmus said.

The district has several safety protocols in place. Asmus says it doesn’t just take one mitigation measure to ensure student safety, but multiple things combined.

The district has many cameras on its school campuses, which are also easily accessible by law enforcement if needed. Each school has a single entry point for visitors, so no one can just walk into a school without staff allowing them in. Students also go through drills during the school year to know what the protocols are.

“It’s sad that we have to do that and think that way, but we are safer now because of those things that are in place,” Asmus said.”

Asmus says districts and law enforcement work very closely together. He knows all too well, as served as the Liberty Lake Police Chief for nearly 20 years before taking the school district position.

When looking at threats that come up, schools and law enforcement work together to determine whether the threat is real, where it came from and who made the threat. Asmus says many of those threats come from outside of our area.

“A lot of times when we can identify the person making the threat however that comes into our knowledge,” Asmus said. “If we can intervene quickly and then we can resolve that issue without ever impacting the school.”

Asmus said even with all the measures currently in place, there is still a beginning point for these threats. They work with students to make sure they’re doing okay, getting to know the kids, and providing a support system for them.

Another protocol: “see something, say something.” Asmus wants students to be alert and let any adults know if there’s something wrong or suspicious.

“The vast majority of every single one of those [shootings], somebody knew. Something was written, something was drawn. Something was posted on social media. Somebody told somebody,” he said. “The vast majority of every single one of those, somebody knew and so really encouraging students, parents, [if] they see something or hear something, say something and get that reported.”

The district is working with law enforcement, wanting to increase coverage of resource officers by keeping them in schools longer. They’re also going to check if they need more cameras that are clearer, with the possibility of relocating some. These plans were in the works before last Tuesday’s shooting.

The district is welcoming suggestions from families if they have any to help student safety.

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