Improving school safety in Rapides Parish amid rise in gun violence

We spoke with Rapides Parish School Superintendent Jeff Powell on what they are doing to keep their schools safe.
Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 4:53 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2022 at 10:13 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - In the wake of recent school shootings across the country, including the one in Uvalde, Texas just weeks ago that left 19 students and two teachers dead, Rapides Parish School Superintendent Jeff Powell spoke on what they are doing to keep their schools safe.

Powell said right now, they re-evaluate and go over their safety procedures at the beginning of each year. Every student in Rapides Parish is required to go through fire drills, tornado drills and bomb safety drills, but Powell anticipates schools having to teach more gun safety with the recent rise in gun violence. Powell said every school in the parish has one resource officer designated to it while also getting help from the sheriff’s office for high alert situations. He said the main priority is safety, but it all comes with implementing the proper resources that are available.

“Either everybody is talking about it, or no one wants to talk about it. So, you want your schools to be secure and safe as possible, you want your children, you want your employees to be safe but you also don’t want your schools to be prisons, right?” he said. “So, you want them to be safe, loving environments where caring is felt in everything that you do, but you also want to take as many safety precautions as you can.”

Powell said they are still trying to work with law enforcement to have better security in place, including more cameras at each school.

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