Higley school district includes parents in safety talks

February 26, 2013

Two months after the Sandy Hook shooting, schools continue to look for ways to improve campus security. One East Valley school district organized a forum to get parents more involved.  One idea was rejected immediately.

NADINE ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: Locked doors and police officers stationed inside schools, among some of the ideas talked about in this safety focus group. Then parents were asked what they think about training and designating one teacher in each school to carry a handgun.

Parent Safety Forum Superintendent Birdwell talks with parents. (Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez - KJZZ)

PARENT:  If I was a teacher I don’t want to be armed and secure people.

ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: The Higley Unified School District organized the Parent Safety Focus Group meeting. It wanted parents to share ideas on how to improve school safety. They heard several other proposals including the use of electronic ID machines to keep track of who’s coming into the school. Parents also weighed in on implementing a permanent district-wide emergency response plan, where students, teachers and administrators are trained to respond to any type of threat. Denise Birdwell is the district superintendent.

DENISE BIRDWELL: The societal issues have become more complex. And as a school system, more and more are falling on the schools to resolve. And here is another one that is very difficult to resolve and I’m not sure that guns in schools should be our issue, but safety is our issue. 

ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: Parents who attended the forum agree, including Heather Meyer. She has three children in the Higley school district. Meyer says she fears an event like Sandy Hook could happen in her childrens’ school. But, she says, knowing the district is willing to talk about safety measures alleviates her concerns.

HEATHER MEYER: When you get a lot of good minds together it provides a very good sounding board to find the best solution.

ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: School officials say the implementation of any future security measures hinges on next year’s budget.

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