Better safety a security a top priority in West Valley schools - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Better safety a security a top priority in West Valley schools

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WEST VALLEY, WA - Safety is a top priority for schools nationwide; it's an issue many of them are always trying to improve.

The West Valley School District is being transparent about the safety and security children are under while in school. Responses to questions parents and employees had are all answered in papers that were emailed to everyone.

"We're willing to do whatever it takes for our community to feel safe and that their children are safe and secure and have a great learning environment in our schools," said Mike Brophy, superintendent for the West Valley School District.

The West Valley community received that message from their superintendent when he sent out answers to the questions discussed in a safety and security forum the community had a few weeks ago. The forum comes after 17 people died in a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A number of topics were discussed, including arming school employees with firearms.

"Our position right now is that we want security officers to be armed, we want administrators to administrate schools, and we want teachers to teach our students."

Brophy says the district has private security staff which carries firearms, and since the forum, they have added one more... making it a total of four security staff that overlook all eight schools in the district.

Other topics discussed were lock down policies, shorter transitions for students between buildings, and surveillance cameras.

"Right now we're in the process of trying to upgrade cameras that need to be upgraded, trying to get cameras where we maybe don't have coverage and so we're in the process right now of continuing to evaluate and upgrade all of the electronic surveillance," said Brophy.

He also says the district is focused on letting parents know about the safety and security their children are under while in school, because he understands what goes through a parent's mind when a school shooting happens. He also says there will be more discussions in the near future.