Quad Cities schools: Keeping our campuses safe

The tragedy in Parkland, Florida, almost three weeks ago has focused the nation again on the safety of our children at school.

Since then, some across the nation have taken advantage of the tragedy to create fear, by making empty threats or, in some cases, making plans that were foiled prior to being carried out.

There have been other situations where a false alarm was reported based on rumors and a heightened sensitivity. A week and a half ago, Chino Valley High School experienced a situation that somewhere in the middle of these two scenarios.

The report that was made to the CVHS administration on Feb. 21, just a week after the Parkland tragedy, was based mostly on statements that were made over a month prior.

Fortunately, there were no active threats made against the school or its students or staff. Chino Valley Schools wants to thank the Chino Valley Police Department for their thorough investigation of the incident. Our close and cooperative relationship with the CVPD helps to keep the students and staff of Chino Valley Schools safer while at school.

I also want to thank The Daily Courier and Chino Valley Review for their reporting of the incident and how social media turned the incident into something that it wasn’t.

Throughout the day, Chino Valley Schools administration and the CVPD were receiving reports that there were multiple threats against multiple schools. We also heard that there were as many as six guns found on the CVHS campus and that the SWAT team had been called out to the campus.

All of this was untrue. Because of the social media rumors, a lot of time was spent chasing rumors, making the situation more difficult to investigate.

Chino Valley Schools has always had a commitment to safety and will continue to take all threats seriously. The commitment to safety existed well before the most recent incident. The district is in the process of applying for a grant to send a team of administrators along with a representative from the CVPD to attend a training to better refine the emergency plans for each of the district’s schools.

This will include tabletop exercises to ensure that the plans meet expectations and that the administrators gain skills to properly implement the plans.

As with almost all of the schools in the area, the campuses of Chino Valley Schools were built before school shootings were a reality. Even though we are continuously making changes to our campuses to keep our students and staff safe, we know that more can be done.

As such the district is investigating asking the community to support a capital bond to, in part, make the district schools safer by purchasing security cameras and installing additional fencing and better and more secure door locks.

As with all of the schools in the area, it is a priority of Chino Valley Schools to make our schools a safe place to learn. This can only be accomplished with the help of the community. If you hear or see something, report it to the school or the police, not to social media.