Green Country schools address safety concerns

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. - Many Green Country school districts are taking a close look at their safety plans after the deadly school shooting in Connecticut.

Sand Springs Public Schools is one of them.

Northwoods Fine Arts Academy sent out a letter to parents on Monday addressing safety concerns. The school also held a special meeting with teachers after school.

It seemed like any other school day. But when parents picked up their kids from school, many of them had the Connecticut school shooting on their minds.

"It turns your stomach, breaks your heart. I mean all those kids had a great life coming in front of them and it's just taken away in a snap," said Travis Stone.

About 450 kids from kindergarten through second grade attend Northwoods Fine Arts Academy. Jennifer Smith teaches first grade -- the same grade many of those students were in at Sandy Hook Elementary who lost their lives.

"Once your child enters the building into my classroom, it becomes my child. And I would want any teacher to protect my child the way that I would protect my own," Smith said.

At the end of the day, teachers discussed what to do if a shooter ever entered the school -- from locking classroom doors, to locking entire classroom pods and sounding an alarm in the main office.

"We can go through whatever scenarios may come, prayerfully, hopefully, they don't come. But if they do, we're prepared as prepared can be," Smith said.

Northwoods, like other district schools, has several security cameras in place. Visitors have to check in at the office and show identification before receiving visitor passes.  

"It is a very hard balance. Because you want to establish a friendly, especially family friendly atmosphere so that parents feel comfortable coming in to their children's school. We want the kids to feel safe, but we don't want them to feel like they're in a prison or a box," said principal Jenny Chambers.

Chambers says they're doing their best to be there for the kids.

"When we were walking out to put them on the bus, one of our assistants said, 'it kind of makes them seem a little bit more precious today, doesn't it?' And I said, 'yeah, it sure does.'"

The school will run through a full lockdown drill in January. Officials say schools in the district practice emergency lock-down drills at least twice per semester.

At Northwoods, officials are now considering putting new policies in place like briefing visitors on lock-down procedures and installing phones in all classrooms. Because of budget cuts, officials say Sand Springs Public Schools do not have any school resource officers on staff anymore.



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