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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Additional security to remain

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Clay Community Schools Superintendent Kimberly Tucker [Click to enlarge]
According to local law enforcement officials and administrators with Clay Community Schools (CCS), students will see an increased presence of officers for the remainder of the school year.

On Thursday, CCS Superintendent Kimberly Tucker told The Brazil Times local law enforcement will patrol school campuses, and in some cases, walk hallways as a way to tighten up security following the tragic event that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., before Christmas.

"They have indicated that they would still have a presence during the second semester," Tucker said. "They intended they would still maintain ongoing visits to schools ... walking through buildings occasionally just to maintain the presence that was established late in the first semester."

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Times officers would periodically stop by the schools while on patrol.

"It will vary," Heaton said. "We won't have any set pattern or any specific times. It will be fairly random."

Heaton added his department would let principals at schools make the decision if they wanted officers to walk the hallways.

If the principals elected not to have this take place, officers would still drive around the campuses.

After the event in Newtown, Conn., Tucker said CCS administrators made "an attempt to get out to every building in our district to walk the hallways."

"Our sense was that because our teachers are outstanding teachers, we were kind of having business as usual," she continued. "I felt pretty good that our (students) were not really harboring under this shadow for the violence that had taken place.

"But we'll have continued conversation about this with our administrative team."

Tucker added the corporation is considering adding security cameras to each building to increase security.

Tucker said she believed the state has been on top of the situation for several years. All schools in Indiana are required to have a school safety director and those directors have to go through annual training.

"I'd say Indiana has been relatively proactive since Columbine," Tucker said. "Nearly every one of our administrators has been certified."

Following the shooting incident in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 children were killed, many across the country, including politicians, suggested teachers should carry a weapon while in school.

However, on Thursday, Tucker said she was firmly against the notion.

"As a superintendent, I do not feel that is appropriate or even a realistic response to the gun violence that has permeated our nation, our schools," Tucker said. "Teachers have enough to do with educating and nurturing.

"We don't want to turn our schools into armed camps," Tucker continued. "I think they've got to be safe, orderly and nurturing environments. I understand we have an obligation to make our buildings safe, and we've done everything we can. Our buildings are safe."

Tucker said she has also heard some suggest local militia should help protect schools.

"To me, that represents a really radical, just anti-educational stance or reaction," she said. "Our job is to educate our students more about the abilities to protect themselves, to understand what the world is now.

"I think it's just horrendous that we've come to this situation in the world. These incidents have taken place in churches, in theaters, they've taken place in places of work ... it's just, schools are vulnerable. But I think schools are safer than where most of the public gathers."

Heaton agreed.

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton [Click to enlarge]
"I don't think it would be a very good idea if that would happen," he said, referring to teachers carrying weapons. "That would just be an added responsibility they would have to take on ... just a huge responsibility."

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