Conway schools administrators stressed that each of the district’s campuses has its own crisis response plan up-to-date and in place Friday as news of events in the Connecticut school shooting unfolded.
"Each individual school has a crisis plan that’s updated constantly. We go over them at the beginning of each year, and I have a crisis plan on file for every school and every building, including pre-school, adult education, and the administrative annex," said Carroll Bishop, assistant superintendent of Conway schools.
KK Bradshaw, director of administrative services, said school officials will look at what happened at the elementary school in Connecticut and review their own processes.
"After details are solidified and we find out what happened there, we will go look at what went wrong and ask ourselves about our processes, our protocols, and review ours. We will shore up our processes and procedures. I guarantee you that school had something in place too. Somehow it didn’t work, and it causes us to step back and reevaluate. That’s what we’ll spend time doing next week," Bradshaw said.
Bishop said the district’s first concern, ahead of education, is to provide a safe environment for students and teachers.
School resource officers are assigned to Conway campuses in a partnership with Conway Police Department, Bishop said. Some officers are assigned to more than one campus, according to Bishop.
"We don’t have 15 RSOs, but we have them divided up. An RSO may have more than one school," he said.
A measure Bishop said the district takes is to send school employees to receive safety training by a safety and health consulting firm.
"We have a plan for every crisis situation you could imagine. We lead drills and exercises, and each building has its own team with specific things that each member does. A team is called together in a crisis to take care of their role," he said.
Conway Christian School, a private school of about 500, also has a safety plan in place.
Spencer Hawks, development director at the school, said doors to the school building are always locked.
"We’re a secure school, and right now we’re actually working with a security consultant company. We always want to stay on top of that. It’s something we take very seriously here," he said.
Bishop, who is over the district’s crisis plans, said he was grieved by events in Newtown, Conn.
"I feel saddened for the loss of so many lives, and it didn’t have to happen. There was no storm, no accident. It was something that did not have to happen. I’m sad for the loss of these wonderful children who had their whole lives ahead of them," Bishop said. "The administrators and teachers killed were working to better their futures, working to help their community, and they lost their lives doing good work. It didn’t have to happen."
Hawks said elementary students did not know about the events Friday, but as high school students became aware of the incident, "the whole school shut down for prayer."
"They prayed in their classrooms for victims and families here," Hawks said.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)