Ascension Parish assigning uniformed deputy to each school

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Ascension Parish school officials sent letters to parents over the weekend to assure parents their children are safe while they are at school.

Johnnie Balfantz, the spokesman for the school system, says Monday parents were calling the school board to be reassured that their children are safe.

"Some of them just really wanted somebody from school system to listen to them.  They wanted to say they were concerned and nervous about their children," Balfantz said.

In response to the senseless tragedy in the Newton, Connecticut school shooting, the Sheriff's Office is assigning uniformed deputies to each primary school in Ascension Parish during peak times. This effort will continue each day leading up to the Christmas break.

Balfantz says a deputy is already assigned to every high school in the parish.

School officials are meeting to go over their crisis plans.  At Pecan Grove Primary school, where the crisis planning meeting is being held, the principal says they did not have any children checked out on Friday, and Monday morning a police officer was in the parking lot for added security.

Superintendent Patrice Pujol posted the letter she email parents on the districts Facebook page.  In it she says, "...we have strong crisis plans in place… in the event that one of our campuses was to face a similar threat...".  Parents have also chimed in, asking the district to think about other safety measures.

One person says: "Thank you, but please, please look at the campuses of some of the older schools. They are not secure. Call in a security expert, if necessary, to do whatever is needed to fix these problems."

Another suggested: "Locked Doors from the outside with electronic keyed entrances, equipped with cameras and intercoms would probably be one of the best options."

Another comment: "I think the classroom doors should be locked when class is in session... Wouldn't it be awesome if each class had a small panic room, just big enough to stuff a class in. … It would be a bullet proof, fire proof."

Balfantz says some of the ideas were discussed in the meeting on Monday.  If any are feasible, he says they could possibly become part of the districts crisis plan.

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