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Parents and ASD superintendent respond in the wake of Texas school shooting

Safety in schools is a topic on the minds of many people across America following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas — including families in Alaska.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 9:48 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Safety in schools is a topic on the minds of many people across America following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas — including families in Alaska.

The tragic losses in Texas have sparked discussion as some parents are feeling especially uneasy about sending their kids to school right now.

But in the Anchorage School District, many said they feel safe sending their kids and grandkids to schools

“I actually feel safe about it. I feel like everything I’ve seen, Anchorage does a good job,” said Cathy Benedict, who is the grandmother of an Anchorage student.

A mother who sends her kids to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District told Alaska’s News Source in an interview that she feels safe sending her kids there, but thinks more can be done.

“Do I think there should be more measures in regards to security and letting people in? Absolutely,” the parent said.

Many of the elementary schools in ASD already have security vestibules and other measures in place to help protect students and staff.

The vestibules, for example, feature a secure outside door. The doors can only be opened from the inside to buzz in visitors buzzed, except for school staff members who have access. Visitors then walk into a secure indoor room where they must again be let in by front office staff to enter. The names of visitors are then searched in various databases, but not all schools have this setup.

The 2022 school bond would have provided 12 secure vestibules to elementary schools, but was voted down by Anchorage voters.

On Wednesday, Superintendent of the Anchorage School District Deena Bishop sent a letter to parents, stating:

“The ASD Operations Department continues to add secure vestibules with controlled access to all elementary schools. This work began four years ago when our team identified the need,” Bishop wrote. “We will continue the redesign and construction of our schools’ entry doors until all elementary schools are equipped with this added safety measure.”

Bishop goes on to encourage people to talk to their children about how they’re feeling as “Families and school personnel play a critical role in reestablishing a sense of normalcy and security for children after an act of violence occurs.”

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