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Local school district stresses importance of a proactive safety approach

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - 19 children and two adults are dead after an 18-year-old opened fire on Tuesday at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

“It hits a little different when it’s elementary kids,” says Daniel Volkman, School Resource Officer for Dothan City Schools. “The majority of them were 10-11 years old, fourth grade, there were a couple teachers that gave their life for those students.”

It can happen anywhere.

Locally, ensuring school resource officers are proactive is a necessity within Dothan City Schools.

Volkman continues, “I’ve had kids come up and talk to me about an incident before it was gonna happen, I’ve had parents come up to me and be like ‘hey I heard this from this’ and just holding kids accountable and their parents doing that, I think that’s a game changer and us staying proficient with our training, proficient with our firearms training.”

A “Crisis Alert” safety system will soon be installed across the school’s system-wide, a huge advantage for administration and law enforcement.

“When we get a notification, it’ll blare on our phone like a mega horn and it will tell us who activated it, what the alert is, and where it’s at,” explains Volkman.

Through a $500,000 grant, additional physical safety upgrades are also in the works for DCS.

“Part of that grant funding request was $120,000 to create a secondary locking system at each classroom door,” explains Steve Parrish, Safety Coordinator for Dothan City Schools. “So, when the Crisis Alert is activated and a lockdown is initiated, the teacher can shut the door, activate a secondary locking system, and that classroom would be relatively secure.”

Working towards a goal of being proactive versus reactive and calling on parents to pay attention.

Volkman finishes, “I think that a lot of it, is what parents might not understand is, if kids don’t have a good structure system outside of school, and then they come to school where it is super structured, they’re gonna have a hard time, and that may develop over time what can cause a person to do something as devastating as what happened yesterday.”

Parrish also expressed that the district would like to see the School Protection Officer program expand.

Those are the retired police officer’s whose job is to neutralize a threat at the schools.

He believes recruiting more to participate is possible and financially do-able.

The Crisis Alert expansion to all schools will take place over the summer.

Copyright 2022 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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