Williamsburg residents will have the chance Thursday evening to find out what changes the Williamsburg Independent School District is making or planning to make in order to improve safety.
Williamsburg school leaders are hosting a parent question and answer session at 6 p.m. Thursday in the school auditorium to answer any questions that parents and stakeholders might have in regard to school safety.
Superintendent Dr. Amon Couch, Principal Tim Melton, Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird and members of the district’s administration will be available to answer questions during that time.
“School safety is our top priority. It has always been,” Couch said. “We want to be able to engage our stakeholders, and get out ahead of it. We want to be proactive and engage in conversation with our community.”
Couch noted that the school district already has a lot of safety measures in place, such as a school resource officer, school staff stationed at every entry point in the mornings, and all entrances being shut and locked during the school day except the front door. Individuals wanting to enter the building must go through a vestibule area and be buzzed into the office.
“We are planning on doing a lot more things to provide extra layers of protection and safety for our kids and our staff. We want to engage our community, listen to their concerns and hear their questions,” Couch said. “I don’t just want them (students and staff) to feel safe. I want them to actually be safe, and we will do the best we can to see that happens.”
Couch said he has no idea how many people will show up for Thursday’s meeting.
Couch sent out a letter to parents and stakeholders on Feb. 22 informing them about the meeting and safety steps that the district has in place or plans to make.
For instance, the Kentucky Center for School Safety will be conducting a safety assessment on March 8 to identify areas where the school can improve safety measurers.
“Once those recommendations have been made, district administration will sit down with our school safety committee, which is composed of not only school staff but local and regional first responders. This group will take these recommendations and revise our school safety plan immediately,” Couch wrote.
Couch said that the district volunteered for the safety assessment about six months ago before the most recent rounds of school violence.
School officials also have three specific safety improvements that they hope to make in the near future.
“There are three things we would like to do soon that we feel like will help provide additional layers of safety for our students and staff. We are in the process of identifying possible funding sources for these items,” Couch wrote in the letter.
One improvement is window grade tinting on the downstairs classroom windows and internal classroom windows to allow less visibility into the classrooms.
A second improvement is to install new security cameras in the old 1982 section of the building.
A third improvement is a front door security device whereby the school can keep the front door locked during the day. Individuals wishing to enter the building would gain access by being “buzzed in” by members of the front office staff in order to provide a second layer of security at the front entrance.