New lockdown procedures underway for Yakima County schools

New lockdown procedures underway for Yakima County schools »Play Video
TERRACE HEIGHTS, Wash. -- School districts across Yakima County are closer to putting in new crisis plans. They outline lockdown procedures for responding to an intruder. And, require new training for teachers.

Juan Mincitar is like every other parent. He wants to make sure his son is safe at school especially during a crisis.

"My fear is that my kid won't be protected properly and that he won't be able to defend himself," said Juan.

School leaders around Yakima County have been spent the last year trying to find better ways to respond to an emergency. It became a priority after the school shooting in Newtown. The focus is on new procedures for lockdowns.

"There's a period of time on the average of 14 minutes that people are going to have to take care of themselves while we're waiting for an emergency responder," said ESD 105 School Safety Coordinator Randy Town.

ESD 105 created what it calls a "run, barricade, fight" method. Safety coordinators said running is the preferred plan if teachers and students are able to evacuate during an intrusion. Teachers will be trained to take students to designated hiding places.

"If an intruder is in this section of the building, they push the button,” said East Valley Schools Superintendent John Schieche. “The intruder cannot get to our students."

"Barricade" is the next option if students can't leave the building.

"This is strategically placed here because this one can now roll in front of the door," said Randy.

Teachers would cover windows to try to deter intruders. School officials say "fight" is the last resort and least preferred. But, teachers will be trained in some basic protection techniques to defend their classroom if necessary.

Parents said these new procedures put them more at ease.

"He's going to be safe, he's going to be protected and he's going to be able to find ways to get out of school when he's in trouble," said Juan.

Teachers are also encouraged to work with students about to different ways to get around campus so they're familiar with their school. Training personnel on these procedures starts in March.