Hicksville schools talk safety and security with students, parents

HICKSVILLE, Ohio (WTVG) - "It can happen anywhere. It doesn't matter how big the school is," Jamie Parker, a Hicksville parent said.

She is one of many facing the grim reality about safety in the classroom.

"We're the Hicksville Exempted Village schools," Keith Countryman, superintendent, said. "But we're certainly not exempt from something happening."

With that in mind and following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, school leaders say it was important to make sure everyone in the community was on the same page.

"It's just a matter of trying to be prepared and have procedures in place so our kids know what to do," Countryman said.

Wednesday, the district met with parents to outline how it handles active shooter situations.

13abc's cameras were not allowed to record those conversations but parents say the schools are on the right track.

"Overall, I'm pretty confident sending my kids to school," Parker said.

"They have it pretty well put together. They're keeping a good eye on things," Jennifer Nelson a mom of three told 13abc.

Superintendent Countryman says they have a buzzer system at the front door, more than one hundred security cameras and panic buttons strategically placed around campus.

The district has also taken it a step further. Nearly 3 years ago, the school board unanimously approved a measure that would allow staff members to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.

But as Countryman explains, they need more than just a CCW.

"We require more," he said. "Each of those members train every year in Nevada and have gone through Buckeye Firearms Association training."

While the topic has recently been divisive and highly debated, many feel the board made the right call.

"I feel they picked people who have experience and who are secure with that decision," Nelson said.

"It's scary both ways," Parker said. "I'm happy there are teachers who carry, but it's scary at the same time."

But in a world where seconds matter, Countryman says they have to be prepared in as many ways as possible.

"I don't think these things are going to stop," he said. "We pray everyday that we won't be next."