School security continues to evolve, administrators say

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KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – Local school administrators say they regularly discuss ways to keep improving security, especially after tragedies like the deadly high school shooting in Florida.

For Kettering Fairmont High School principal Tyler Alexander, keeping his 2,400 students safe is his top priority.

“As a principal of a large high school in the state of Ohio, it’s on the back of my mind every single day,” he said.

Protecting students and preventing tragedy includes keeping doors locked every day and running safety drills required by the state, Alexander said. Students and staff practice responding to fires, tornadoes – and more recently – active shooter situations, he explained.

“The days of just locking down and hiding under a desk are over,” Alexander said. “You’ve got to get out.”

That means practicing evacuations and having discussions on procedures for a variety of scenarios, he added.

“We talk through different situations of where an intruder may be in the building and what you would do, and this is what the intruder’s doing,” he explained.

Keeping students safe also goes beyond drills and door locks – it’s about showing students they can trust their teachers, Alexander said.

“It’s important to build those relationships so that students are willing to talk to adults so that we can help eliminate these types of situations,” he said.

Parents we spoke with said they’re pleased to see school leaders making safety a priority.

“The more practice the better,” Jim Reid, one of the parents. “I think the more the kids are used to it, the safer they’ll be.”

Alexander said he and school administrators also discuss security with local police. He said he expects another discussion on protocols soon based on the events in Florida.

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