(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Widefield School District 3 (WSD3) will have armed security guards at every school in the district. The increase in safety measures came after the district received a safety grant before the start of the school year.
“We got $1.113 million to get some additional safety measures in our school district,” Secondary Student Learning Executive Director, Aaron Hoffman, said. “As part of that, we really did make a decision as a board and… as a school district to really bolster our armed presence at our buildings and so we have an armed campus security at every one of our buildings. And we also have district patrol that patrol the district and make sure that our buildings are secure as well.”
WSD3 previously had six armed security personnel and will now increase that to 19.
“We really wanted them to be very much a presence and an immediate presence at the building in case there were any kind of emergency situations that happened,” Hoffman said. “They walk the school, they make sure that doors are closed. They make sure that we go out after recess. We go out during lunch, things of that nature to make sure that our students and staff are safe.”
Each armed security guard goes through significant training.
“The interview process has been significant with getting the right personnel on board,” Hoffman said. “There are required trainings that all of the personnel have to go through. “
Sproul Junior High School Principal, Steffanie Howell, shared the benefits of increased security on the school grounds.
“It has been wonderful having that extra layer of security,” Howell said. “Having our campus supervisor here every morning beginning at 7 a.m. here for our entire day and also our after-school events when we are needed, when we need extra supervision.”
Hoffman expressed positive feedback from parents and faculty in adding more security to the district.
“We’ve received lots of very positive feedback from staff and from parents in the community, they’re very thankful that we have the additional layer of security,” Hoffman said. “We’ve given the charge to all of our campus security and they have done a wonderful job with that, of being very visible, making sure that they are where the people are, if you will, in the mornings and after school at drop off and pick up and making sure that they are building those community partnerships with parents. They’ve been very, very happy and very pleased with, with our district’s initiative to bring more campus supervisors to our school district.”
Another safety measure the district has added is a radio system to help communicate with first responders in emergency situations.
“So, the grant provided us with a very robust radio system in order to participate and in order to contact and communicate with first responders as they are on the way to the building in the event of an emergency situation,” said Hoffman.
Howell shared how positive it has been having an armed security guard who also has built relationships with students at Sproul Junior High School.
“He is wonderful with our students, has a special relationship, bonds with them every day at lunch duties, is out and about every passing period here in the mornings for drop off and pick up in the afternoons,” Howell said. “It’s been a wonderful extra measure that we’ve been able to have.”