Jan. 16, 2013 —
Four incidents requiring emergency protocols at West Carter High School in the last week have parents concerned about student safety and the duties of law enforcement.
Several juveniles have been taken into custody on terroristic threatening charges stemming from last week’s incidents and more arrests are likely, according to police.
The school was evacuated last week in response to a bomb threat and then locked down the next day when another threatening note was found that indicated a gun was on the premises.
Students were held in their classrooms on Monday afternoon while their lockers were searched for a weapon. No weapon was found, however.
Another lockdown occurred Tuesday after a note was found concerning a potential bomb. Again, nothing was found.
R.D. Porter, West Carter’s school resource officer, spoke at length with the Journal-Times regarding these incidents and how local authorities handled them.
“We received some complaints from parents that they weren’t notified of things. They felt like the school should have contacted them when it went into lockdown but that’s not how the procedure works,” said Porter. “They have every right to be scared or alarmed, especially with what’s gone on in our nation recently, but we have procedures and policies in place on how we handle these types of incidents. We are always going to err on the side of caution.”
Porter also expressed concern that students were using cell phones to call their parents and give updates on the situations, even though such devices are prohibited on school property.
A major reason for the cell phone ban, according to Porter, is that cell phone signals operate on the same frequency as police radios and could potentially interfere with law enforcement communications in the event of an emergency.
In dealing with the threats, Porter indicated that some parents approached him, questioning the Olive Hill Police Department’s ability to handle this type of situation.
“I’m the second longest serving school resource officer in the state. I’ve been doing this job for 10 years and I attend specializing training each year to keep up to date with in-school safety issues – especially how to deal with situations like school shootings,” Porter said.
He added: “I’ve received the exact same training that a state trooper or any other law enforcement officer receives. We know the correct policies and procedures to implement and we always follow them.”
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.