School safety plans in the wake of West Albany bomb plot
ALBANY, Ore. -- Albany schools are seeing the benefits of a district-wide safety plan, from better locks and fencing at schools, to screening more students for mental health issues.
Albany educators say they got a wake up call in May when police stopped a possible bombing at West Albany High School. Now officials are increasing security efforts district-wide to prevent further threats of violence.
Albany's School Superintendent Maria Delapoer said their recently drafted school safety report addresses many safety concerns at their campuses.
"Our motivation is to get students help as soon as possible," said Delapoer.
Mental health professionals, police and other experts had a big role in laying out the plan.
"There were some things that we came in after West Albany and said 'Hey, do we need to reevaluate what we saw, what we see and what we can do?'," said Sgt. Alan Lynn of the Albany Police Department.
One recommendation from many of those involved was offering mental health screenings.
Delapoer said they've tried to cover a lot of ground in the new report by addressing issues like mental health issues and staff training.
Sgt. Lynn said he hopes the adjustments can add up to better communication, better reporting of threats of violence.
One of the biggest setbacks in moving forward is funding the plan.
"If we were to do all of that at all schools it would be a significant amount of money," said Delapoer.
New fencing, gates, key scans at Oak Elementary School alone would cost $60,000, and the district has 20 schools.
IN spite of the costs, Delapoer believes the report gives them a big step in the right direction.
The report goes to the school board Monday night.