Parents and community members packed the auditorium of Colville High School this evening to let the administration know their concerns and ideas for safety after two boys brought a knife and a gun to Fort Colville Elementary School last week with an intent to harm other students.
“What-ifs happen every day in every school and every church and every mall,” said Superintendent Michael Cashion.
Parents had a lot of concerns and questions for the administration, such as how can school officials let parents know sooner when something like that happens.
“In the event something did happen,” said one parent, “I would want to be informed a lot sooner.”
Some parents said it took up to four hours after the incident for them to be alerted to the issue.
One law enforcement official said the case is still under investigation so there isn’t much he can tell parents at this point.
In many cases, parents asked if it would be possible to arm teachers, since it takes time for law enforcement to arrive when something like this happens.
“I would like to know that teachers have that right,” said one parent. One community member said the state is looking at a law which would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons and asked Cashion if he would entertain that idea if passed.
“Yes, I would entertain it as an option,” Cashion said, but warned that professionals that teach children may not want to go through extensive training to “level a weapon at a fifth-grader and shoot them.”
One parent suggested parents look through their children’s backpacks every day before they leave for school.
Another parent thanked the district for their actions last week.
“Hats off to them,” she said. “We’re not attending any funerals this week. I get to kiss my daughter goodnight every night.”
District officials took ideas to improve security such as character education, metal detectors and suggesting all parents update their contact information. Many suggested teachers should hold students accountable for unkind comments to other students. One suggested working with Homeland Security or keeping gun safes at the school.
“The community and school is working toward something to make us more secure for kids,” Cashion said.
The ideas suggested will be placed on the district website and discussed in the coming weeks.