Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Searches will continue at local schools

A few weeks ago, shortly after Kentucky State Police investigated an alleged threat by a student to kill everyone at the middle school, Crittenden County Schools added another layer of security to keep students and staff safe.

On a day in early March, every student at both the middle and high school was searched before entering the buildings. The searches included belongings like backpacks and a sweep with hand-held metal-detecting wands. This and future inspections will be unannounced, and will include all students at the two upper schools.

“These random security checks are a preventative measure that the district feels will add another layer of security for our students and staff,” said Superintendent of Schools Vince Clark. “Crittenden County School District is committed to their well-being and safety and takes those initiatives seriously. School leaders will critique this morning’s event as they plan additional upcoming random screenings in the future.”

He said the administrative decision to begin conducting searches was not in response to any new threat or single past incident. He believes if the new security offers comfort to students, parents and staff regardless of finding, then it will be worthwhile.

“What more can we do?” he questioned. "I think we all agree this is one thing we can do right now to provide another level of safety."

To conduct the morning searches, students are allowed into school through only two entrances – the middle school gym lobby and front entrance to the middle school. There is no direct access into the high school.

As students arrive, their bags are checked, and the individual is wanded much like at an airport. Girls are searched by female staff and boys by males. Sixteen of the metal detectors will be used to conduct searches.

"This is just to let folks know that we're looking for weapons and other things that don't need to be there," Clark said.

With 700 students to check, he said there will undoubtedly be some kinks to work out with the searches in order to make them more efficient and effective.

"There are a lot of logistics to go along with that," he said. "It's going to take a while to iron out smoothly."

The superintendent said searches will continue to be conducted randomly throughout the remainder of the school year and indefinitely in future years.

"I think these are the times we live in," Clark said. "We continue to have conversations about what more we can do."

A 14-year-old boy at CCMS was charged Feb. 22 by state police with terroristic threatening related to comments he allegedly made earlier that day. The boy reportedly made a threat to all students. The conversation he was having with a student was anonymously reported to administrators by another student, leading to police involvement.