Bartlesville students return to class following school threats

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 1/02/2013 5:17 pm Published: 1/02/2013 4:44 pm

Bartlesville students are back in the classroom after a string of security worries at the end of the year.

The district made the decision to start the winter break one day early and have made changes in the interim.

Along with an added police presence, there are also off-duty police officers at each site and a school resource officer. The first day back went smoothly for students, teachers and staff. But that wasn’t the case in mid-December when police arrested 18-year-old, Sammie Chavez for plotting an attack on the high school. Then just days later, two men were spotted on campus with guns. Police searched but were not able to find them.

"It was kind of scary, and it made me not want to come back to school,” says student, Matt Leverett.

Since then, school officials have taken a hard look at school security, even having safety experts tour each of their ten campus locations. The district used those recommendations to make changes like upgrading locks on certain classrooms.

Nancy Showalter showed up to take her son to lunch on Wednesday, and was very happy to see the district stepping up its security efforts.

"I'm glad to see the police are here and I think they have a security guard now on campus full time so that makes me feel better,” she says.

The district also sent a letter home to parents reassuring them of their commitment to student safety. Bartlesville police officers will also be making frequent stops at the different schools. The school was able to hire off-duty police officers using money from its general fund.

"I believe we calculated about $160 at each site and we have ten schools so when we have them at all ten schools it is about $1600 a day,” says Superintendent Dr. Gary Quinn.

The school says the best way it can keep students safe is by building relationships with them, that way if there is a potential threat, the students feel safe enough to share it.

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