The Duncan Banner

Local News

December 16, 2012

School safety becomes everyone’s concern

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Tragedy struck the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Friday, when a 20-year-old man opened fire, killing 20 children and six adults.

While the shootings were happening, many teachers locked doors and barricaded the children in classrooms and helped hide them.

Local educators and parents shared their thoughts and talked of the safety precautions necessary.

Duncan Superintendent Sherry Labyer said school violence is a school’s worst fear realized.

“That’s every educator’s worst nightmare,” Labyer said. “It just makes me sick. I just don’t understand.”

Terry Davidson, Comanche Public Schools superintendent, said his heart goes out to the families of the students,

“It’s hard,” Davidson said. “It’s just so tragic. People want to come up with the plan. I’m sure they had that. Safety is the number one concern for us.”

Labyer said they have made contact with Duncan police officers to find how to make the schools the safest. While the elementary offices have been reconfigured to make people enter through the offices, Labyer said absolute safety isn’t possible.

Labyer said the police told her that if a shooter wants to enter a school, he will find a way.

“That’s the harsh reality we face,” Labyer said.

Kayce Booth, who has three children and also is a teacher’s assistant in the Duncan school district, shared her thoughts on her Facebook page and also with The Banner.

“Before today I had taken for granted the summer remodel that my kids school got,” she wrote. “They made it to where anyone entering the school had to go through the office and then a second set of doors were added that you have to be buzzed through, making it harder for anyone to just enter the main area.”

Tabrina Whitlow has two boys in Duncan schools, a pre-K and second-grader.

“My 4-year-old told me they have a drill for if a stranger ever comes into the school with a gun. He said they go in the class, lock the door, turn off the lights and hide,” she said. “My 7-year-old has mentioned school lockdown before. It’s so sad that in addition to fire and tornado drills our children now have to have stranger with a gun drills. Children shouldn’t have to fear that kind of thing happening at school.”

That’s some of the efforts being done by Duncan Public School District.

Davidson and Labyer said their school districts continue to enhance safety precautions. Both have crisis plans. Duncan also has a lockdown plan, which will help protect the students in such a situation.

Labyer said the goal is to be proactive instead of reactive. She said her biggest concerns are at the high school, which will soon undergo improvements to make the campus safer, which is the result of a bond issue passed earlier this year.

Booth recognizes that the district is working hard to improve the school campuses.

“I stood there looking at it thinking what a great community I live in where they are willing to go to the extra expense to keep our children safe,” she said.

Davidson said there is no way to protect 100 percent, but schools will do their best.

“It’s easy to say what you’ll do until you’re in that situation,” he said. “We think about it all the time. We have 1,100 students. Every day I pray for the safety of everyone.”

While he worries mostly about accidents beyond the school district’s control, he also worries about senseless acts of violence impacting Comanche students.

Vicki Davison, Empire Public Schools Superintendent, said that her relationship with the Stephens County Sheriff’s Department is helpful in feeling safe.

“If we have anything here, they are here sometimes within five minutes,” she said.

Before today’s tragedy, they had already planned a simulation of a school shooting with the sheriff’s office for school staff to be conducted sometime in the spring. Davison hopes this will help teachers and staff be prepared if this incident were to ever happen at Empire.

“We have no current cause for concern but we want to be proactive,” Davison said.

Davison said that during school on Friday, many of the students had not heard of the incident in Connecticut but she was expecting students to be more nervous on Monday. She guaranteed that staff and teachers would be there to reassure the students.

“There is going to be nervousness,” she said. “I hope parents will monitor what their kids watch and have good discussions with them afterward.”

Labyer’s final thoughts seem to be on everyone’s minds.

“It always makes you stop and think ‘what if?” she said.

“People who are in public education feel like we’re all a team, all in it together,” Labyer said. “Our prayers are with that entire school.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-25 Marlow Gas.jpg Church ministry to host $1-per-gallon gas event on Saturday

    Hop & Sack Grocery should be hopping on Saturday morning.
       The annual gas buydown project, a ministry of Marlow’s First Baptist Church, will begin at 8 a.m. and last until noon on Saturday.
     The church will buy down the price of gas so customers will pay only $1 per gallon for up to 20 gallons.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25 Chance Anderson.jpg Homegrown Marlow singer returns for free concert

        Marlow native Chance Anderson brought his  band to  Marlow’s downtown stage Thursday evening for the second of three community concerts of the summer.
     Free hot dogs and drinks were served to about 150 people who gathered for the music.
        Jason McPherson, city administrator, said he was proud of the turnout, especially with the raging heat.

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Red Cross notes importance of local participation

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-25 National Day of the Cowboy 0013.jpg National Day of the Cowboy kicks off Saturday

    The annual National Day of the Cowboy will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center.
    The theme is centered around Native American culture and will be showcased through a variety of different activites, specifically the ongoing Allan Houser Exhibition.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Temperature hits 101

    The temperature hit 101 in Duncan on Thursday and stayed there for about two hours before cooling down to 99 at 6:35 p.m., the National Weather Service reported.
    More hot weather is in the forecast.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-24 Rotary Mike Nelson 0087.jpg Nelson discusses Duncan’s water supply during Rotary meeting

    Duncan Vice Mayor Mike Nelson doesn’t think Duncan residents need to worry about the city’s water supply.
    Despite Stage 3 water rationing, which limits outdoor watering to midnight to 9 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, Nelson said the forethought of Duncan’s forefathers, who were also Duncan Rotary members, have created a backup system for the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-24 Douglass Pool Update 0081.jpg What’s dug up at cemetery goes down at spray pad project

       Dana Stanley knew just where to go to get fill dirt for the Douglass Park spray pad project -- the local cemetery.
       The city is building a splash pad on top of what used to be Douglass Pool, but  before that happens  a fairly large hole has to be filled.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Traffic stop leads to drug arrest for Duncan man

    Bail was set at $250,000 Wednesday for a Duncan man who was allegedly found to have two bags of methamphetamine and two bags of marijuana in his home.
    Duncan Police Officer Suzannahe Weir said she stopped Steven Fontinott, 62,  for a traffic violation on Saturday.

    July 24, 2014

  • Man drives drunk, rolls truck in the process

    A felony warrant was issued for a Marlow man who was allegedly found to have been driving drunkenly following a rollover accident on Nabor Road.
    Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Darin Carman said William Waller, 33, was pinned under the steering wheel of his truck and smelled of alcohol.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hard year for peaches doesn't dampen summer tradition

    A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they've come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.”
    Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, might beg to differ. Even so, Porter is known for its peaches, and every year thousands of people flood this town of about 600 residents to taste and celebrate the local crop during the three-day Peach Festival.

    July 24, 2014

Poll

Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites