Superintendent: Riverton schools are much safer than five years ago
(Riverton, Wyo.) – One of the first observations Fremont County School District #25 Superintendent Terry Snyder made when he was hired five years ago was a lack of controlled entry to the district’s buildings. That was one of his first recommendations to the school board.
“We made a conscious effort to to add vestibules to all our school’s entryways with buzz-in entries,” he said. “We used to have keys for all staff, which if lost could be found by the wrong person and duplicated. We now have key fobs. If one is lost, it can be cancelled in seconds. It’s all about security,” he said.
Snyder said background checks are done on people coming in to the buildings, both criminal and sex offender. “We want to control who comes into our buildings.”
“Short on putting bars on doors, once the school building is on for the day, everyone comes through one door. It’s not the friend (of a student) we are worried about, it’s the person behind the friend,” Snyder said.
The superintendent also said the school disciplines kids for “threatening to blow the school up, or for fighting, we want you to be safe,” he told students concerned with school safety at Tuesday’s school board meeting. “We expel kids for being under the influence, and for drugs.
Snyder also said “our staff has done the A.L.i.C.E. active shooter training every year,” he said. Using the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech as an example, “they were told to hide in a room and lock the door. Those who used that strategy died. Those who fought back didn’t. This training gives an opportunity to survive such a situation.”
The Superintendent also noted that the district buildings are equipped with cameras. “We have cameras everywhere. Kids are flabbergasted when they get caught doing something they shouldn’t,” he said. “We have cameras everywhere.”
Snyder said the district has invested “hundreds of thousands of dollars since I’ve been here” on vestibules and other safety enhancements at the district’s buildings.
Making a point, he referenced how quickly something can develop over social media. “Things can happen this fast,” and he snapped his fingers for emphasis.
Snyder told the students concerned about being safe in school that their input was invaluable. “We welcome your input, we take no offense at it all. The thought of one of our children, well, I can’t imagine of that happening. I hope it is something we never experience,” he said referring the the multiple school shootings acr0ss the country.
“You are in a much different position to look at this than we are,” he told the students. “There can be important adjustments made in our buildings, somethings may not cost but would be critical to the solution.”
As an aside, Snyder noted that when he was growing up, the big fear was a nuclear strike by the former Soviet Union. “We were told to duck and cover, we were worried about getting bombed by the Russians. You, however, are facing a real danger.”
School Trustee Lorenzo Chouinard noted that students are the first line of defense, as they usually know what their peers are up to.