Newton Local Schools in Miami County considers Active Intruder Response Team
PLEASANT HILL, Miami County, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - The Newton Local Schools district in Miami County sent a letter to parents letting them know it is looking at creating an active shooter response team.
Superintendent Pat McBride said this would be the first district in Miami County to have an armed response in school.
The district already has a Miami County Sheriff's Deputy as a full-time school resource officer.
McBride has been in education more than 30 years and has been the superintendent of the district for the past 12 years. He said school safety is always on his mind.
"It's a battle, a constant struggle to always try to figure out what we can do but not make the building seem like a prison," McBride said.
It was almost a month ago McBride went to the Houston School District to learn how its Armed Intruder Crisis Team worked.
It was the same day as the Parkland school shooting that took 17 lives.
"My heart breaks for those people in Florida and elsewhere that have had a school shooting. I can't imagine what that's like and so obviously, we want to prevent that and save as many lives as possible if it would happen," McBride said.
The way it would work is to have firearms locked up in biometric safes in critical points of the building. Then, only teachers who volunteered and were checked out would be trained to use them.
"No staff member will be asked to serve on that response team if they're not fully, mentally engaged in that activity. It's just something they have to feel strongly about," McBride said.
David Blakely has two kids who go to Newton Local Schools and has a concealed carry permit. He'd already heard about the proposed armed response team.
"I'm all for it. I believe they need to have the armed response team in there due to the simple fact that with society being like it is anymore. We have to do what we have to do to protect our kids," Blakely said.
Blakely said he talks with his kids about school shootings like what happened in Parkland, Florida.
"They know all about what's going on and I try to encourage them and let them know that our school is a safe school due to the fact that we do have the [school resource officer] at all times. So, it does make you feel a lot safer," Blakely said.
McBride knows not all parents will be on board like Blakely but he wants to keep the conversation going as the district works to find ways to keep the kids safe.
"I think what we all need to understand is we're all on the same team and how we get there is what we need to discuss and it should be nothing that divides us," McBride said.
McBride said if the policy is approved, the team would be put in place over the coming months and be ready to go by the next school year.
There's a school board meeting Wednesday night. The district will make a quick presentation about how the armed intruder crisis team would work and give parents a chance to ask questions.