Tulsa schools superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard knew the first day back to school after the Newtown Connecticut shootings would be tough. So Ballard gathered several people responsible for the safety of the kids and held a news conference.
“We are going to provide a greater presence” Jordan began. “I’m not going to answer any questions about how, security is security and that’s something we’re not going to talk about” he went on.
Jordan would say his guys will be more visible “we’re doing a lot of things starting today and throughout the week that will provide an increased presence at all of our public schools, in the next few days every school will be visited by a police officer.”
Ruddick was asked if the district would now consider metal detectors or other high tech equipment. Ruddick may have surprised many when he answered “hardware, equipment, and locking doors are not the best investment of limited funds.”
Ruddick would rather rely on people. “The best investment for protecting children is personnel” he stated. “An effective teacher and an effective principal are the keys to keeping kids educated and safe, they go together.”
To further make his point Ruddick made an interesting analogy. “There is no place any more intimidating with its equipment and razor wire, and bars and armed guards than a prison and I don’t think anyone wants to spend the night in prison, I don’t think they feel safe.” Ruddick finished his thought “I don’t want to turn schools into prisons.”
Ballard also reminded parents that the people in the schools are trained should a situation like Newtown unfold here. “Every single person who works in Tulsa Public schools knows what they are to do in an emergency.” Ballard pointed out they have had practice. “Lock-downs are not unfamiliar to our schools.”
Jordan finished the meeting by talking about how Bartlesville police prevented what could have been a tragedy when they arrested a student Friday who was said to have made threats. Jordan said the communication in that instance may have saved lives. “We’ve got to encourage the students and families and everyone in our community when they see or hear of this, behavior that’s off center, to tell somebody.”