Washoe County School District holds Safety Forums - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Washoe County School District Holds Safety Forums to Discuss Emergency Plans

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Starting this week, the Washoe County School District is inviting the public to learn about its safety procedures, which are in place to protect kids when they're in school. The district is holding public safety forums so parents and concerned citizens can hear about emergency planning and ask questions. Monday night, at Reno High School, the district held the first of five safety forums to give parents a chance to interact with safety officials.

Merle Herman has two grandchildren in elementary school. "One of my big issues is communication both interior and exterior at Hunter Lake. When you go into the school, your cell phone is off," she said.

The district has had emergency plans in place for years, but after the Sandy Hook shooting in December, they decided to share them with parents and let them ask questions. WCSD Police Chief Mike Mieras says safety takes priority at the school district. "This is something we've been doing for over 12 years that I've been the chief. We have emergency management at schools, we have action plans, we have plans in place for emergencies," said Mieras.

Topics included things like door locks, fire alarms and training. Swope Middle School Principal George Brown explained some of the training they do in the classrooms. "There are certain things we do. We knock on the doors, We pretend we want to get in, we tell them that you're released," said Brown.

According to Chief Mieras, the emergency plans often change in response to national events. "We take a look at what we do and every time there's an incident, we sit down and we review what occurred at that incident; what went well, what didn't go well, what we teach our schools and what we teach our officers."

Parents learned the hard fact that many of the buildings are old and hard to secure. WDSD Superintendent Pedro Martine explained. "We have buildings that were built in the fifties and sixties and they were built to be open campuses. They weren't built to be closed off," he said.

Parents we talked to are concerned but are pleased to hear about the safety programs. Paul Curry is the parent of a ten-year-old in elementary school. "They really have a plan in place and they're working on it. Everything takes money," he sighed.

Written by Jennifer Burton

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