School administrators discuss school safety

By Hope Lecchi -

By Hope Lecchi

In light of an incident that occurred where a 17-year-old student attacked an administrator in the Sedalia School District 200 with a knife, district administrators and officials want to assure parents of the safety of their children while they are at school.

“First and foremost, I want to assure all parents that the number one job anyone in the Sedalia School district has is to protect and educate our students,” Superintendent of Sedalia 200 Schools Brad Pollitt said recently. “Both though, have become more difficult in the past few years.

“We all firmly believe that the most important resource that we have is our students and we review our plans and policies continually to maintain their safety,” Pollitt added.

Anytime there is a safety situation the administration and law enforcement officials have a debriefing session where they discuss the incident and consider how the situation was handled.

“We always look at how we resolve an incident,” Pollitt said. “We assess what we did and also look at if there was a way we could have done anything differently.”

While Pollitt would not comment on any specific events or safety measures, he did discuss actions the district had implemented in recent years.

“We spent considerable dollars on upgrading out interior and exterior doors and locking systems,” Pollitt said. “That was money well spent as was the money spent to upgrade our communications systems.”

One of the most recent upgrades was the district’s phone app and Facebook page which Pollitt said is vital to the district providing information to parents and the community in any situation.

To that end, Pollitt said one of the most important things that parents could do to help the district disseminate information as quickly as possible is to make sure the district is notified anytime the parents make a change to their address or phone numbers.

“The only way we can get the information out to parents is if we have the most recent phone number and information on file,” Pollittt said. “We have been told that some parents did not receive the information we recently sent out.

“When we looked into the situation we found that in a number of the cases it was because someone had gotten a new phone and did not provide us with the information so we could update that (the new phone number or address) in our systems,” Pollitt added.

Information about any immediate situation concerning student safety is provided on a need to know basis.

Pollitt said that the district uses law enforcement officials to send out the information as well.

“The goal for all of us is to send out the most accurate information as quickly as possible, but as with all things we do that information must be accurate and not sensationalized,” Pollitt said.

The district employs three armed security guards who work throughout the district’s nine school buildings.

“The three security officers we have are a valuable piece of our safety plan,” Pollitt said. “We rely on their knowledge and training on a daily basis.”

In Pollitt’s opinion, perhaps the greatest resource the school has in any emergency is the staff employed throughout the district.

“I truly believe that in any situation, regardless of the age of the student, they look to the adults in the building and react to how the adults are handling the matter,” Pollitt said. “The students here really trust the staff and often if there is a situation that they feel uncomfortable with or sense isn’t right they will talk that over with a teacher or staff member.

“Many times, we can diffuse a potential situation before it does become a larger issue,” Pollitt added. “Because our entire staff works hard to develop those relationships of trust with every student I think the students feel safe throughout the district.”

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484

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