Bartlesville Schools Steps Up Security Procedures As Students Return


Wednesday, January 2nd 2013, 5:42 pm
By: News On 6


Students in Bartlesville returned Wednesday from the holiday break to a change in security at their school.

The district canceled classes early, just before Christmas, because of concerns over possible threats to students.

You'll see more of this over the next couple of days in Bartlesville, police officers patrolling the grounds of the public schools.

"We didn't have another threat. We didn't have something we thought was a major concern, right now," said Superintendent Gary Quinn.

He said the district has taken a fine-toothed comb to its security measures, since two separate incidents before Christmas.

12/17/2012 Related Story: Police Find Guns In Home Of Bartlesville Teen Charged With Threatening School

The first came when 18-year-old student Sammie Chavez was charged with threatening to kill students and police officers.

Then, a week later, someone saw a man with a gun not far from the high school, which prompted the district to go on Christmas break early and cancel a basketball game.

The district hired a security expert to go over the high school and mid-high school during the break.

The immediate plan calls for an additional off-duty police officer to be on school grounds, cut down the entry to the high school from three locations to two, and change the locks on classroom doors.

"I have some concerns," said Tracy Passmore, whose son is in the tenth grade.

Passmore said she's pleased with those additional security measures, but she said the administration needs to improve the way it shares information with parents.

"Hopefully, in the coming weeks, things will get better and communication will continue to improve, so it'll be easier to let him go to school," she said.

12/19/2012 Related Story: Bartlesville Schools Release Photo Of SUV Which Prompted District To Close Wednesday

Quinn said the district has to balance being transparent, while being smart. He said, for example, the Department of Homeland Security recommended to the district that it not reveal all of its security procedures.

"There are some things that you don't want those that might do harm to students to know what your plans are and how you would react to certain circumstances," Quinn said.

"Their business is kids and they're going to protect them," said Lisa Kennedy, who is about to serve her first term on her son's safe school committee.

She said she's always felt he was safe at school and is proud of the steps the district has taken to protect the students.

"I don't think they can do anything else, because I don't think they know what else to do. They've done everything they know," Kennedy said.

Superintendent Quinn said the safe school committees throughout the district will be meeting in the coming weeks to go over any new security plans.