YERMO• Officials at Silver Valley Unified School District want to step up security within their entire school system. A Thursday morning meeting provided reason for optimism but also showed how much work is left to be done.
"We've got a long way to go on this," SVUSD superintendent Marc Jackson told the group gathered in the district office board room, explaining his goal was to move toward an active shooter scenario — where staff and students alike could practice a plan in the event of a violent threat.
After the group split into two to continue talks — representatives from Valley schools, Silver Valley Disaster Council and two San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies at one table; representatives from Fort Irwin schools and Army Garrison personnel at another — Jackson ascertained by conversations that applying the active shooter scenario was still a ways off.
"It's pretty apparent we're not ready for full-fledged intruder drills," he said.
Instead, school officials will turn their focus to refining current lock down procedures.
"It's always fluid. It's never going to be exactly the same," explained Daggett Fire Chief Joe Morris, who is part of the Silver Valley Disaster Council. He said schools would need to "refine (the lock down plan) as they go."
Deputies recommended the schools work to make lockdown drills as commonplace as fire drills.
Authorities will make other recommendations for school safety and bring them to school officials when the group reconvenes in April or May, Jackson said.
In addition, school psychologists will work on drafting a guide to deal with trauma in the aftermath of a disaster like a school shooting.
It's all part of the district's ongoing efforts to "finesse" their emergency plans, Jackson said.
All schools in the district were initially expected to go through active shooter training and drills by next spring, he said, but now the timeframe isn't as clear.
On Jan. 22, Yermo Elementary School was placed on lockdown when a student saw an adult with a BB gun near the facility.
Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com.