West Branch safety meeting addresses potential shooter threats


When West Branch schools’ safety plan was implemented in 1995, no thought was given to dealing with an active shooter, but current protocols must address those potential situations.

“The incident in Parkland [Fla.] brought school safety national attention,” schools Superintendent Timothy Saxton said before the district’s annual safety update meeting Wednesday evening at the high school. “Our board felt it was necessary to come together to talk about these things.”

About 60 parents, police officers, firefighters, school board members and others came to the one-hour session aimed at highlighting what the district has done and intends to do to enhance safety and security. Also attending were several teachers who have received training in the ALICE – alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate – program, designed to handle active-shooter situations.

“We believe as a district that it’s a layer of safety and security we need in place for our students from kindergarten through grade 12,” the superintendent said. “It allows our students and teachers to make decisions in immediate time.”

The school board is reviewing a controversial nonprofit FASTER program that was created by concerned parents, as well as safety and medical experts. It would authorize certain staff members to be armed, he explained.

Read more about the discussion in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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