Cherokee Co. focusing on school safety

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Updated: 1/16/2013 10:21 am Published: 1/15/2013 6:34 pm

It's been a month since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

It happened 1,400 miles away from Cherokee County, but that event brought every school district in the county together for the first time to focus on student safety.

"We look at them like they're our own kids," said Tenkiller Public Schools Superintendent Randy Rountree.

Rountree says anytime a shooting happens, like the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it causes districts across the country to re-evaluate their safety plans.

"I want parents to see we're not sitting back waiting for something to happen," said Rountree.

16 superintendents in Cherokee County met last Friday to discuss what safety plan would be needed in place for all the schools there. They're asking law enforcement to come in Thursday and evaluate each school.

Cherokee County undersheriff Jason Chennault walked FOX23’s Dontaye Carter through Tenkiller Schools.

"What we're talking about is not letting them have access from the outside," said Chennault while checking to see if the schools doors were unlocked on the outside.

Law enforcement will advise the districts what improvements are needed.

However, one of the problems is the school budgets won’t be changing, which means the districts will still be trying to do more with less.

"We have a budget we work with the entire school year," Rountree said.

He says he’s willing to pay that price for student safety.

"We want the schools to be a safe place for students to come, learn and enjoy," the Superintendent told FOX23.

Thursday morning, law enforcement will begin going through each school in Cherokee County to evaluate what changes may need to be made.

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