Sheriff encourages preparation
BLACKFOOT — Bingham County Sheriff Dave Johnson said deputies have gone into every school in the county this school year. He noted those visits when questioned about safety measures in light of the elementary school shooting tragedy in Connecticut last Friday.
"We have trained administrators and teachers throughout the county," Johnson said. "We teach people what to watch for and how to report any action — whether that action be a weapon or verbal threat — until we can get there to take over security of the buildings.
"There is no failsafe method," Johnson said. "There is no answer that is going to be perfect that can prevent or guarantee things from happening.
"We continue to teach [administrators and teachers] what to look for and to act accordingly," the sheriff said. "It's the best preventive measure we can do.
"We need to [continue to] train on these things," he said. "We keep encouraging schools to be actively involved in protecting these kids.
"From what I understand, they did everything they could have [at Newtown, Conn.] by the sounds of it," Johnson said.
"I've heard people suggest that administrators and teachers at the school should have a gun," the sheriff said. "In my opinion, that is not a good idea.
"If sheriff's deputies come into an active shooting situation, how will they know who's the good guy or who's the bad guy?" Johnson asked. "I don't think this is the answer; I think arming everyone adds to the problem."
The answer is training, Johnson said. Law enforcement and school administrations need to work together.
Snake River School District
Superintendent Mark Gabrylczyk said there are security cameras in each of the schools. A resource officer is also in the district.
The district has had lockdown training with staff and students, he said. Policy and procedures are in place to deal with emergency situations.
"It's a very difficult thing," Gabrylczyk said. "We always assess where we are concerning safety.
"The district has also cooperated with the Bingham County Sheriff's office to improve the district's system," the superintendent said.
Snake River High School Assistant Principal Ray Carter is the designated administrator for emergencies in the district.
Firth School District
Superintendent Sid Tubbs said, "We have lockdown procedures already in place."
Three years ago, Firth was the site for an "active shooter training," Tubbs said.
In Firth, there are three school buildings, the seminary building because of its close proximity to the high school and the ag shop which is just far enough away to be treated individually.
On Monday, administrators met with their staffs to review the protocol that is used. Teachers then discussed with their students what they are supposed to do. Classes then practiced these protocols.
"They discussed, at the appropriate grade level, here's what we do and here's what happens," Tubbs said.
Bingham County Sgt. Craig Luker was in the school district on Monday.
"It was good to have him here," Tubbs said.
Firth High School practiced a lockdown on Monday afternoon. The middle school and elementary school will practice this drill sometime this week, he said.
"Whenever we do one of these drills, we find where our weaknesses are," said Tubbs.
Aberdeen School District Superintendent Jane Ward was attending a previously scheduled meeting on Monday and was unavailable for comment.