By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Willamina ramps up security measures

Forster said the district received many calls from parents, starting the day of the shooting. Those calls continued into the following week.

Parents wanted to know what procedures were in place to deal with a similar situation and what the district was going to do to enhance them. He said there is an established process and detailed the actions taken.

Elementary Principal Carrie Zimbrick reported that attendance was lower than normal the week following the shootings.

“Ninety-four percent is good,” she said. “We were in the 80s. What happened in Connecticut hit us hard because we are an elementary school.”

The Monday following the shootings, Forster met with Zimbrick and secondary principal Tim France to evaluate the district’s emergency procedures. Changes were made and an emergency process was established in the event staff and students are outside the building, either on the playground, engaged in a physical education activity or in transition between buildings.

Forster met with Yamhill County sheriff’s deputies the following day concerning the district’s lockdown procedure. During that meeting, deputies reviewed the district’s emergency procedures and suggested minor changes.

The sheriff’s office now has the ability to immediately access surveillance video recorded in the high school, the elementary school and the six-plex that houses the district’s middle school students, adjacent to the high school. The district’s safety committee reviewed the emergency procedures and expressed satisfaction with the changes.

A K-12 lockdown drill was held the Wednesday before holiday break. Four sheriff’s deputies were on hand to evaluate.

The lockdown went well, and more are planned, officials said.

In other business:

n It was board recognition month, and Forster, who plans to retire after the 2013-14 school year, told members:

“You’ve always put kids first. That’s not always politically correct, but that’s why you’re here.

“I hope the next 1 1/2 years goes as well as the last two years have gone. I’d rather go out with a smile on my face than a scowl.”

n The board is scheduled to meet in work session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the library to discuss sending a bond measure to the voters. Chair Loren Wasson said the board must prioritize its needs in preparation.

n Sheridan businessman Dick Paay will make a $70,000 payment to the district this month as it vacates the former transportation area at the Washington Street site. Paay purchased the old high school building and property and has developed it into the West Valley Community Campus.

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