Safety measures increased at Rapid City Area Schools - KOTA Territory News

Safety measures increased at Rapid City Area Schools

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In the wake of the school shooting incident in Connecticut, the entire Rapid City Area School staff in collaboration with area law enforcement agencies will be working this week to assure the community of the safety of students attending the Rapid City Area Schools.

Law enforcement were present at every Rapid City Area School Monday as students came onto campus. Liaison officers are always staffed at every high school and middle school in Rapid City through out the year and elementary schools have a liaison officer assigned. but because of last week's shooting in Connecticut officers are being extra vigilant.

Rapid City Police Sergeant Brian Blenner says the Police Department has been training for how to respond to an in school shooter for about fifteen years. "We work closely with each individual school to work with their crisis plans and to come up with a great crisis plan for each individual school," said Blenner. "We don't have a blanket crisis plan because each individual school is different with the lay out and with the geography there so we do work very closely with the schools to come up with safe plans for kids."

This news release was issued Monday morning:

The Rapid City Area School District 51-4 has over the years developed a district crisis plan and individual building crisis plans. The school district has worked very closely with both the Rapid City Police Department and Pennington County Sheriff's Office to have the best possible plans in place for the safety of our children, young people and staff. Moreover, every year, we spend time with principals and staff members updating crisis plans so that they reflect what is considered the best practices nationally in school security. We receive ongoing guidance from our law enforcement partners in this community who also receive guidance and training on a national level. Our principals, district administration, and liaison officers have attended school security conferences both at a national and local level. Our principals partner closely with our district's liaison officers, comprised of sheriff's deputies and police officers, to practice crisis procedures: both lockdowns and evacuations.

This weekend's tragedy will require the Rapid City Area Schools to look at current plans, reflect, and update them if necessary. Unfortunately, from every tragedy such as this, this district as well as schools across the nation learn something new about how we all might become better at providing the most secure schools for our children.

We also recognize that today could be a difficult day for our staff, students, and families here in Rapid City. We are working closely with our principals, guidance counselors, teachers, and law enforcement to be prepared for today and the remainder of this week in the Rapid City Area Schools. All of us who work with children and families want to be prepared to deal with any concerns that might arise. We have consulted with district guidance counselors and they have suggested ideas on how our staff can respond to students questions and concerns in an appropriate manner. We will keep our communication and assistance at grade and age appropriate levels.

If parents have any concerns about your child please feel free to contact your building principal or guidance counselor. Please feel free to contact the Office of the Superintendent at 605-394-4031 or rapidcitysuperintendent@k12.sd.us if you have any questions or concerns about safety of students in the Rapid City Area Schools or the response to this event.

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