ALBANY, Ore. (KMTR) - Albany officials worked with Oak Grove Elementary on Thursday in hope of finding weaknesses in its security system and to make sure students and staff know what to do in an emergency situation.
Staff members are making childrens' safety their top priority. Albany police officers spent the morning securing the inside and outside of the school. The school also practiced two different types of lockdowns and now says it's prepared for any emergency.
For teachers at Oak Grove Elementary, children’s safety comes first. "My number one priority is to keep kids safe," said teacher Karrin Mayer. Mayer has taught at Oak Grove for six years and is always on alert when it comes to her students.
"I think it's important to practice good safety procedures, which is at a level one all the time. It's knowing where your kids are, taking attendance twice - once after lunch and after recess," said Mayer.
To ensure the students' safety, Albany police officials inspected every entrance and exit at the school.
"What we are doing is conducting school and infrastructure safety assessments and observing lockdown drills to gauge how prepared the school is in an event that there is a security risk to the school," said Linn County Detective Micah Smith.
Shortly after his inspection, the school went into lockdown. He made sure all doors and windows were secure and found that some of them only lock from the outside. "In order to lock that door or ensure that it's locked, they have to at least open it and feel the door on the other side or insert a key and lock it,” said Smith.
The door locks and some outdoor fencing issues are some of the improvements that Oak Grove is looking to change. Principal Rich Sipe couldn't be happier about the assessment. He says, "I feel great that we are looking at some of our practices and policies and any improvement we can make that will improve the safety for the children and the adults."
He also says, "People trust that we are going to take care of their kids when they are in our care. I want to do the best that I can to keep that trust."
Police officials are putting a package together with a list of improvements for the school. This package will then be presented to the schools' superintendent in the next few weeks.