Ken Chichester oversees twelve campuses in the Greenfield Union School District. He says the district has increased its safety measures ever since the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary and Taft Union High School.
“When I thought about Sandy Hook, I didn’t know those people, but I knew those teachers and those administrators,” says Chichester, Assistant Superintendent of the Greenfield Union School District. “We all have those administrators and teachers who will do everything they can to keep our kids safe.”
Chichester says all of his district’s schools have fences around them. The fence around Greenfield Middle School is being repaired, he says, because it’s so old.
"Our fencing, we're looking at the locks on our doors to make sure locks can be secured both inside and outside,” he says. “We're looking at our lockdown procedures to make sure we could safely lock down the school if need be."
The Greenfield, Standard, and Beardsley School Districts are some of the only elementary and middle schools districts in Kern County with a full-time campus safety resource officer.
Officer Lalo Celedon has patrolled campuses for the last 16 years with the Kern High School District Police Department.
"We are on high visibility to make sure our officers are out there all the time,” Celedon says. “We have 25 officers altogether, and there are officers on each campus who act accordingly, immediately to any type of suspicious activity.”
Celedon says each officer trains extensively throughout the year with other police departments.
“We have also our campus security officers trained under SB1626, which is a program based on state requirements for security,” he says. “They are familiar with the campuses, emergency situations, and things of that nature.”
Chichester says Greenfield schools practice lockdown drills several times each year.
The Rosedale Union School District will have its nine schools fenced in within the next two weeks to make sure there's only one entry point which leads to the main office.
The Standard School District is updating its intruder policy so staff is immediately alerted when someone is on campus who shouldn't be.
"Obviously, we don't know when it's going to happen. We don't know if it's going to happen. We don't know what will happen,” Chichester says. “But, you have to be prepared, so our schools practice that. And, we do everything we possibly can to try to make sure our schools stay safe."