School safety top priority at Pineville School Board meeting

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Kentucky State Police Trooper Danny Caudill spoke before the Pineville School Board on Monday about the school safety.

“There will be a regional school officer available,” Caudill said. “I don’t know where they will be, but they will be available.”

Caudill explained that the officer position is outside of the Kentucky State Police, but they will be working together once they are in place.

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“Anything we can do to educate our teachers to take responsibility and be empowered to make decisions to keep their students safe,” he explained. “Here’s my spill for you all. Fire drills, you all do fire drills when they are required. When I researched our active shooter program, there has been one child killed in a school fire, ever. Any school shooting is deadlier than that. We need to be doing intruder drills and lockdown drills, and I think that they should be done more frequently than fire drills because all those events are more deadly. I will say to you that you have the fire drills down. Let’s move forward and start these lockdown and intruder drills.”

“One thing that I think if we did it with more frequency it would be beneficial because when we do the lockdown drills there is an urgent panic that goes across the community even if it is just a drill,” Pineville Superintendent Russell Thompson said. “It affects your instructional day, it affects your attendance and I’m telling you, we are a K-12 school and it’s a bit different because you have to deal with high school kids and right down the hall, you have kindergartners.”

Caudill explains that that parents and teachers alike are always asking why isn’t there something for the kids.

“I can’t have a 40-pound five-year-old and train the same way I would a 6’5, 19-year-old, 240-pound all state linebacker. It is completely different,” he said. “Parents will always ask me and I will tell them you’re not going to like the answer. If you will teach your kids to listen and do as they’re told ,we’ll train the staff and teachers with whatever it takes to save their lives but they have to listen to that teacher.”

Caudill said that there have to be conversations and there has to be training done.

“I like lockdown drills and what I intend to follow-up with is that I intend on him (pointing at Thompson) knowing and Mr. Frazier to know that we are coming,” he explained of the lockdown drill procedures. “That way we can fairly assess how they respond and then from that meet with him and Mr. Frazier and teachers at prospective schools and show what they did well and what can be changed.”

He explained that the unannounced lockdown drills have been performed in Harlan and have been successful through having the principal and the safety coordinator of the school. When they arrive, they use one-call to notify parents that the lockdown is a drill to keep panic and urgency at a minimum in the community.

Thompson explained that Pineville Independent School Board is creating their own independent law enforcement agency to place school resource officers through training and have them placed inside the schools.

“It’s brand new,” Thompson explained. “We are learning and I am working with Richmond. We have sent in all the information from the school and (the officer) is taking those courses. We are above the curve when it comes to that and they are figuring it out through that officer how to do this and it is sort of changing along the way because they are not used to dealing with schools.”

Caudill explained that an event last 10 to 15 minutes from start to finish.

“It’s all about being at the right place at the right time,” he said. “At the very minimal, train your staff and they will avert to their highest level of training or their most recent training. If you practice that, at the very minimal you will minimize the loss of lives, casualties and injuries and things like that.”

Thompson thanked Caudill for being there and said they look forward to collaborating in the future to make sure that Pineville Schools are always safe for everyone.

The Pineville Independent School Board meets on the third Monday of each month inside the conference room at Pineville High School at 5 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to come.