Yakima Valley School Taking a Closer Look at School Security
From our news partner KIMA Action News
YAKIMA VALLEY — Yakima Valley schools are taking a closer look at security in response to the horrific shooting in Connecticut and the arrest of a Zillah man police say posted a possible school threat on Facebook.
They’re not your everyday elementary school visitors, but this week, Granger police officers have become regulars at the town’s Roosevelt Elementary School.
They’re walking the halls and covering the grounds.
“One of the things we’re doing is locking all of our external doors, including the front door,” said Granger Superintendent Margarita Lopez.
Until now, anyone could walk through the elementary school’s front door, but not anymore.
The changes in Granger comes after police arrested a Zillah man they say posted a threat on Facebook.
Administrators say that’s too close to home.
“Do you feel that the children are already safer?” KIMA asked.
“I believe that they’ve been safe, but this gives the sense of being safer, yes,” said Lopez. “And, we have a lot of community members and parents thanking us.”
Granger is one of several schools in the Valley ramping up security and re-examining procedures.
“The copycat things that happen after something like this, happens. I think it’s certainly good to plan ahead and be prepared,” said Marcia Stauffer, who has a son in the Toppenish School District.
Come January, an armed security guard will be placed at each of Toppenish’s four elementary schools.
It’s one of several steps the district is taking to make your kids safer.
“Some of us were mesmerized in front of the television for quite some time trying to figure out how this tragedy could happen. And, instantly started thinking how we could prevent that here,” said Toppenish Personnel and Human Resources Director Jeanette Ozuna.
The Toppenish School District held an emergency meeting following the Connecticut shooting.
It’s now considering locking all school doors and even requiring picture I.D. to get into buildings.
Brenda Villanueva has three kids in elementary school.
“I think they’re right on it. Any little thing, you want to take the precaution,” said Villanueva. “You want them to be above and beyond. It’s your children.”
School districts in Yakima and Zillah are reviewing their emergency policies.
Selah and Wapato say there haven’t been any security changes proposed but say there’s a heightened awareness after what happened in Newtown.
Several school districts we contacted are out for winter break.
Those administrators plan to go over school security issues after the vacation.
A lot of the high schools and middle schools in these districts already have armed officers.