SUPERINTENDENT CHAMBERS: ‘School safety requires non-stop vigilance’

On Thursday, the Okaloosa County School Board held a workshop which covered many topics concerning updates for the schools in the county.

Among the topics was school safety. This topic comes in the wake of the Oxford High School shooting in Michigan on November 30th, along with reported threats made toward Shoal River Middle School in Crestview.

Superintendent Marcus Chambers reiterated to the school board on how the Okaloosa County School District has many plans in place to help strengthen safety in schools. This ranges from the help of the “Safe Schools” office, led by Specialist Danny Dean, along with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Department.

“We do have the “Say Something” campaign,” said Chambers. “We are blessed here in Okaloosa that we have students who speak up. We have parents who say something. We have employees who say something. Each and every time that someone brings something to our attention as it pertains to safety or as it pertains to a threat, these matters are looked into.”

  • According to Chambers, they’re not only looked into from a school district point of view. It is also looked into in partnership with the OCSD.

Other precautions such as fencing surrounding the schools, single-point of entry, and School Resource Officers (SRO) are being utilized as well.

“I do believe that we have safe schools,” continued Chambers. “We have SROs in every school and also have the Guardian Program here in Okaloosa County. Also, the threat assessment teams are at every single school doing training drills which is a big safety piece.”

The goal is not only to conduct drills and stop threats, but also getting help to students who need it.

  • “Dr. Kelly hit the nail on the head earlier when she talked about mental health. That is a piece of school safety that is absolutely critical.” said Chambers.

Chambers also told the board that he has reached out to Sheriff Eric Aden and a roundtable meeting is currently being planned for the beginning of January.

“We want to be certain that every measure that we can take is being taken,” said Chambers. “School safety requires non-stop vigilance.”

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