MPS talks safety and security in light of OU, Yukon events
By Jacob Sturm
Mustang school district parents received an email from MPS on Monday morning asking for continued partnership and help in discussing school safety and security.
The email comes days after the University of Oklahoma was a victim of a swatting incident, causing a stir for families with students in attendance.
A separate incident in the Yukon Public Schools District resulted in the district closing school on Monday, April 10. The Mustang Public Schools District was not impacted by the incident, and the email families received indicated no threat had been made against MPS.
Kirk Wilson, the Director of Communications at Mustang Public Schools, said the biggest thing to focus on is the work happening behind the scenes and prior to any sort of issue coming up.
“We have a really good partnership with our first responders, Mustang Police and Fire, Oklahoma City Police and Fire (and) Canadian County,” Wilson said. “We have those agencies in our buildings frequently for non-emergency things. Of course, they’re able to respond to emergencies as well, but they also do training in our buildings during holiday breaks and after hours and things like that just so they’re familiar with our footprint and the blueprints of schools and things like that.”
MPS also has a director of safety and security on staff, who learns information from districts facing situations and passes along information that could help the district, too.
All MPS principals, assistant principals, district administrators and law enforcement trained together with the Oklahoma School Security Institute before the school year began. Wilson said that training refocused the staff on the Run, Hide, Fight protocol. MPS also meets monthly with the same first responders and talks through any issues that may arise, or even review different protocols.
“We have our standard emergency operations plans which address everything from a threatening statement made by a student all the way up to the worst-case scenario of an active assailment on campus,” Wilson said. “Those plans go into everything from the communication side of things all the way up to student reunification and things like that.”
Every school site also has a safe school committee. Parents, teachers or students are able to submit concerns to that committee and have the committee look at it from more of a local level.
“We do a lot of prep work to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for our students and staff,” Wilson said.
Yukon’s decision to close school for April 10 indicated to MPS that this would be a good time to send some reminders out for parents. Wilson classified the safety and security discussion as something no district can handle by themselves.
“We just wanted to encourage our families to talk with their kids about ‘See Something, Say Something’ and to be careful about spreading rumors and misinformation,” Wilson said.
MPS, and all school districts, take every instance of a threat or threatening comment seriously. The district follows the board policy and state law in all incidents.