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Omaha area school districts' responses to safety inquiry

Posted at 12:37 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 19:15:50-05

In the aftermath of yesterday's school shooting in Parkland, Fla., local schools are reminded this can happen anywhere.

"A tragedy such as what happened in Florida yesterday can happen anywhere, it can happen anywhere anytime," said Nebraska Department of Education Director Jolene Palmer.

Palmer said over the past few years they've been developing an across the board school safety plan called 'I Love You Guys', "Nebraska has safe schools, I know we can become safer and that's my goal".

The one things schools can do right now according to Palmer to increase safety is to lock your doors, "Nebraska has safe schools, I know we can become safer and that's my goal".

3 News Now has reached out to school districts across the metro area, particularly those in Sarpy County, to see what school safety measures they have in place or are considering.

Below are the responses we've received.

From Bellevue Public Schools

Our hearts go out to the Parkland Florida school community. We respectfully understand the weight of a school shooting tragedy. Each time there is violence on a school campus it prompts us to pause and reflect on the safety measures we have in place, such as our secure entryways and our standard response protocol. This also reminds us how important our efforts are to continue building trusting relationships with our students, families and community.

We know schools do everything they can, and in Bellevue we are grateful for our partnerships with the Bellevue Police Department, Sarpy County Sheriff's Office, Offutt Air Force Base, and our school resource officers who work closely with us to help prevent violence and respond appropriately to any threat. 

From Millard Public Schools:

Our hearts go out to Parkland. We understand the weight of the tragedy of a school shooting. The purpose of a school is to learn and grow. There should be no safer place. For a parent to lose a child and for a staff member to lose their life in an act of violence such as this is deeply saddening.

There are no easy answers to this ongoing national tragedy. We know schools do everything they can, and here in Millard, we are grateful for our community who supported a bond issue in 2013 that allowed us to upgrade security. School safety is a matter we keep at the front of our attention at all times. 

From Omaha Public Schools:

Omaha Public Schools stands with Broward County Public Schools during this very difficult time. We are deeply saddened by this tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their family members, the entire school district and the Broward County community.

OPS has invested a significant amount of resources into fire, life and security upgrades throughout the past several years. We thank Omaha taxpayers for the support of many of those upgrades, which came out of the 2014 bond program.

The safety of our staff and students is paramount. For security purposes, we cannot share the details of our plans. However, we want to express our sincere appreciation for the close working relationship we share with our partners in local law enforcement here in the metro, particularly the Omaha Police Department, Bellevue Police Department and the Douglas County Sherriff’s Office.

In addition, OPS consistently evaluates the tools we use to monitor situations to ensure we are doing everything within our control to keep our students and staff members safe.

From Papillion La Vista Community Schools:

Papillion La Vista Community Schools extends our deepest sympathy to Broward County Public Schools. This is an unimaginable tragedy and a senseless loss of innocent lives.  Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, the staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the entire community of Parkland.

At Papillion La Vista Community Schools, we take very serious the responsibility of keeping our children safe when they come to school each morning. We want our parents and community to know that safety and security of our staff and students remains a top priority. We are very fortunate to have local law enforcement agencies that are trailblazers in establishing a standard response protocol and partnering with the schools on school safety.

We will continue to review and revise our safety protocol and make certain we are doing everything possible to try and prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

From Westside Community Schools:

All of us here at Westside Community Schools are sickened and saddened by the events that took place Wednesday in Florida. No child or teacher should be afraid of going to school. The students, families, staff members, law enforcement and community of Parkland are in our thoughts.

We are grateful for our community, who supported the bond issue in 2015 allowing us to upgrade security at many of our buildings. Our District worked throughout the summer to detail emergency plans for Westside Community Schools, and we will continue to meet and discuss what we can and should to do ensure safety at all times. Our administrators, staff members, and school resource officers continue to work together to ensure safety and security are top priorities in all of our buildings.