Area school district officials offered sympathy to the victims of the elementary school shooting in Newton, Conn., but tried to assure parents that there are steps in place students safe.
“It is with great sadness that we hear of the news of the tragic shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were victims of this senseless violence, ” in a statement released by Deer Park School District Superintendent Becky Berg.
“I want to ensure all of you, and the larger community, that we have processes, procedures and plans in place to keep our students safe. Our greatest asset in Deer Park is our neighbors, families, students and staff who take responsibility for helping us keep each other safe.” Berg added.
The superintendent told parents whose children are having a hard time coping with the tragedy to contact the school principal when they return to school on Monday.
Riverside School District Superintendent Roberta Kramer echoed Berg’s comments on Friday afternoon: “I want to ensure all of you that we have procedures in place to keep our students safe. Our staff, students and community are our greatest support system when trying to understand this senseless tragedy. ”
Kramer also asked parents that school principals would be available to provide avenues of support in case their children have trouble dealing with the tragedy.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office have been involved in the development of a Rapid Responder Program since 2004. The program outlines everything in public schools dealing with evacuation of students, schematic of the schools, security, electrical plans, etc.
The program also assists deputies with assuring the quickest response into the facility in an emergency situation.
The Sheriff's Office conducts yearly training at schools throughout Spokane County dealing with the type of tragedy that took place in Connecticut.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said the training opportunities are extremely beneficial as it allows the school districts and Sheriff's Office personnel to work as one. This leads to a more organized response and deployment of resources since the school districts and Sheriff's Office know exactly what to expect from each other as a result of these training exercises.
“The Spokane County Sheriff's Office will continue to conduct these types of training exercises to ensure the safety of our children in every school district in Spokane County,” he said.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office also has seven school resource deputies assigned to various school districts. Budgetary cutbacks at the school district and city levels forced the Deer Park School District deputy to be reassigned last school year.