In the wake of a mass-casualty school shooting in a Florida high school last month, school superintendents across America are taking a hard look at security measures and ways to improve them. Paris School Superintendent Wayne Fawcett is among them.
Last week, Fawcett said the three campuses in the Paris School District are “as secure as we can make them at this point. We are always evaluating things and looking for better measures we could take.”
One of the most popular suggestions being made about increasing school security — arming teachers — isn’t one of the things on Fawcett’s do to list for the simple reason that he believes it isn’t needed in Paris.
“I probably would not do that here for several reasons,” Fawcett said. “That’s fraught with issues.”
For example, Fawcett said, if an incident does take place, does an armed teacher leave students to go after an intruder or stay with students?
“I don’t want to put our teachers in that moral dilemma,” Fawcett said.
Also, what if officers dont’ recognize an armed teacher and take them for the intruder?
Fawcett also stressed thatr the response time from the Paris Police Department is a matter of a few minutes.
“oyr repsonse time from local pollice is very good,” he said. “I know this because we’ve done a number of shooter drills. And, we have a school resource officer who is in every building, every day.”
But, he added that his answer to question of arming teachers applies to the Paris district only.
“I’m not necessarily against arming teachers,” Fawcett said. “I have a frined who is a superintendent in a rural school district,” he said. “The law enforcement response time in that district could be as much as 25 minutes. In that case, yes, I would be infavor of arming some teachers because in that situatio, they woudl be the first responders because of the distance involved. In Paris, police are a minute or two away.”
Fawcett also said he did not k now if any employees in the Paris School District have a license to carry a concealed weapon.
“I’m sure we have some,” he said. “But by law, they can’t carry a concealed weapon into a building.”
As for existing security measures, Fawcett mentioned that each building in the district has security cameras in place.
“Our video footprint is extensive,” Fawcett said. “There are some other thigs, but I’m not going to publilcize all of our security measures for obvious reasons.
“I’m completely comfortable with what we are doing and the thing we are looking at,” Fawcett said. “But, we’re always trying to improve. You put together the best plan you can.
As for improvements, Fawcett mentioned two.
“We’re lookng at putting in a secondary entry point in front of each building so that someone trying to get into the building can be seen and buzzed in from inside the building,” Fawcett said. “We’re also looking at adding brances for each classroom door. That way a teacher can brace the door so that it can’t be entered even if they shoot out the window in the door.”
Asjed if he had heard fro any “nervous parents” in the wake of the latest school shooting Fawcett said no.
“No one has called or come by the office and they are welcome to call or come by the office,” Fawcett said. “My impression is that parents trust us toput in proper security measures, as which we have. We’re always looking to improvement when the opporunity to do so presents itself.