School safety discussed at public forum

On the same day that students across the nation held walk-outs about school shootings and those who have lost their lives in them, the Christian County Public School System held a forum about school safety Wednesday.

Only around 20 people showed up for the public forum at Christian County Middle School, but that didn’t stop the parents and community members who attended. Dan Orman with the Kentucky Center for School Safety says one of the biggest things he can advise is for people to stay calm and not give in to panic in an era of social media.  He says there are several things that can be done to ensure safety, including situational awareness, keeping classroom doors locked and knowing escape routes.

Orman says metal detectors seem like an easy solution but they’re not—it introduces more legal issues than people realize. He says that’s also true for arming teachers, as teachers have not received the proper training to handle weapons in high stress situations and the money to train them isn’t available.

Hopkinsville Police Chief Clayton Sumner says any threat of any kind made against a school is taken very seriously and investigated immediately.

Orman says it is important to remember that schools need to remain safe while still being a positive, interactive experience for every student.

Chief Operations Officer Brad Hawkins says the school system plans to launch an anonymous tip line in the coming weeks where students or guardians can report anything suspicious. In the meantime, those can be made to the Hopkinsville Police Department or Christian County Sheriff’s Department.

There will be another public forum held Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Pembroke Elementary. Around 400 students held a walk-out in Christian County, which they held in remembrance of the victims of school shootings.