How Idaho school districts prevent lockdown situations

West Ada School District
Posted at 4:56 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 00:31:44-05

MERIDIAN, Idaho — As schools return to a sense of normalcy after remote learning and other pandemic precautions, the threat of dangerous situations like an active shooter is also returning.

The West Ada School District and the Meridian Police Department work together to prevent these situations.

West Ada spokesperson, Char Jackson said the school district tries to address students' concerning behaviors before they become dangerous.

“When we’re seeing concerning behaviors from students we do always want to reach out and find out what’s going on, what’s compelling them to act in the ways they’re acting,” Jackson said.

Each situation is different. A conversation between the student, parents and administration is often a good start.

Parents can also help by having conversations at home.

"If your child does have a friend or an acquaintance and you know they're seeing kind of things that are strange or a little out of the ordinary for them, it's better to say something," Jackson said.

Jackson said if the parents aren't cooperative, there are still steps the school can take.

"For example, if they were expelled but able to come back later, we would have a plan for that student," Jackson said.

This could be something like a modified schedule and checking in their backpack at the beginning and end of each day. This is also where the partnership with law enforcement can come in.

Jackson said if parents aren't cooperating with the school, the school resource officer can help with supervision or another course of action.

"Law enforcement side -- obviously we are there to enforce any laws, but also we're there to teach we're also there to build relationships with the students," a school resource officer in the West Ada School District, Robert Rodriguez said.

They take a three-pronged approach: education, prevention and enforcement.

The school district and police department also work together on training. The school district is in charge of most of the training for teachers, administration and staff. Meridian police are responsible for lockdown drills.

"We go through what that looks like to go through a lockdown. Officers then go through the school and make contact with each teacher in the classrooms and make sure they're going through the procedures they're supposed to be going through for a lockdown," Rodriguez said.

The state has standardized procedures through Idaho Standard Command Response for Schools (ISCRS).

Both the ISCRS and local law enforcement agencies study active shooter and other dangerous incidents at schools across the country to improve their protocols and responses.