Making schools safer without giving teachers guns

PASCO Wash., -- School safety remains a hot topic as districts take a stand on teachers and staff carrying guns. Recently, a Texas school that allowed trained teachers to carry guns, ended up having a pistol left behind in a restroom. All Washington schools are gun-free zones.

John Morgan has worked in schools as a teacher, a coach and now the assistant superintendent at the Pasco School District. In all his time.. He's learned safety is the first thing schools need.

He says, "Kids can't learn if they don't have a safe environment. Staff won't teach if it's not a safe environment."

So when schools nationwide started coming forward and saying they would arm their teachers with guns, he couldn't believe it.

"It's a sad time for our society," Morgan tells KEPR.

But Morgan went to the experts before making any rash decisions.
Pasco Police, the Sheriff's Office and state risk assessors walked the Pasco School District campuses with him to see how they could make the schools safer.

Morgan continues, "Teachers are trained to teach. They're not trained to carry weapons like law enforcement."

Some recommendations made based on those tours include -- adding more fencing to each campus. Allow just one entry points for all elementary schools. Equip each Pasco classroom to lock from the inside, for quicker lockdown procedures. They'd also like to add smart cameras with sensors outside each school.

"That camera would automatically focus on that person and and the secretary or administrators can see who's entering up a walkway," he explains.

There's suddenly been a huge demand on those nationwide. John Morgan tells me no matter how much technology, how many improvements, people need to always remain on high alert and go with their gut.

"Somebody almost always knows something isn't right. That's the one thing we don't want to lose sight of."

So that student safety is always in focus.