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Redmond mom pitches school safety plan

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:50:09 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 12 2013 09:54:26 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin spoke with a Redmond mother who has devised a plan she believes will make schools safer and is seeking support for legislation.

BEND, Ore. -

A Redmond mother spoke with police, teachers and lawmakers to devise a plan and started a website, seeking support for an increase in school safety in Oregon, she said Friday.

On Mandi Puckett's website, schoolsafetyproposal.com, more than 100 people have signed up in support of her plan.

The Redmond mother of two describes a stool that can't stand without all three legs. The first is prevention: locked doors, and no easy access to schools. Then there's treatment: Lessons about bullying, mental health red flags and practicing lock-down drills.

The third leg, enforcement, talks about what to do if someone does get on campus and tries to hurt students and teachers.

If there's not enough money to have a police officer or armed resource officer on every campus, Puckett says everyone needs to think outside the box.

"It's not arming all teachers, that is not something we would expect from the teachers," Puckett said. "But there are staff that we believe that are already on site that have those backgrounds and are already trained."

If there are no trained educators, Puckett suggests volunteers or nearby business owners be alerted. They would approved by police and the school, but no one else would know who has a loaded weapon.

"If an intruder comes into a school, they're not going to know for sure who, or how many people on site are trained enforcement that are going to protect the kids," Puckett said. "That is the deterrent factor, similar to air marshals on an airplane. You don't know who they are, or how many there are."
 
Republican state Rep. John Huffman from The Dalles has taken an interest in the plan. He said every school will be different, but he will be talking about school safety legislation in Salem.

"Am I saying that's appropriate for every school and that I'm going to mandate it? No, I'm not," Huffman said. "But I do think that school districts need to have those options."

Puckett agrees that every school should find a plan that works for them. and says she believes every step toward safer schools will make a difference.

"Criminals and mentally disturbed people, knowing that policies are changing, and people care about students and staff being protected -- that is the deterrent factor right there," Puckett said. "I believe we're going to see reduction, rather than just doing nothing."

One comment Puckett has heard from parents is that they don't want their schools to feel like prisons. She responds to that by saying her plan is about protecting the students and teachers inside -- and keeping the danger out.

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