Rockcastle County Superintendent: ‘You can’t put a price tag on a child’s life’

ROCKCASTLE COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56) – Schools across the country, including in Rockcastle County school district, mourn the tragedy of what happened in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday.

FOX 56 wanted to explore schools outside of the metropolitan area where there is a small town community similar in size to Uvalde Elementary School.

In response to the school shooting, Rockcastle County Superintendent Carrie Ballinger lowered all flags to half-staff Tuesday through Wednesday. In addition to the flags, Ballinger also said yesterday’s event sparked a call to action for the school district.

“The first step we took was to alert all of our principals and district administration staff,” Ballinger said.

Ballinger said she emailed staff and faculty in her county to be on high alert and stay vigilant, even though there was only one school day left.

“Just be aware. Keeping your classroom doors locked, according to this law that was implemented several years ago,” Ballinger said.

Ballinger refers to Senate Bill 1, Safe and Resilient Schools Act.

“At Rockcastle Schools we require all visitors to register at reception, our doors remain locked at all times. Our visitors are allowed in after screening to ensure they should be on our school campus, we have a “Raptor” program to screen them before they enter our school buildings.

The Raptor program is software technology that allows administrators to scan a visitor’s driver’s license and ensure they can safely enter schools.

While covering the protection from the outside, Ballinger said she also checks how the students are feeling inside.

“I think the questions were more geared towards ‘Am I safe? “Said Ballinger.

Ballinger said she made access to mental health resources available to all schools in her district on Wednesday, and she said counselors are busy.

“These resources were aimed at speaking to students after a tragedy has occurred, in a school building, to be able to have someone in place,” Ballinger said. “Our health advocates, our school counselors, someone our students know they can contact, if they had any questions. It all depends on the relationships. »

Looking ahead to the summer and the following school year, Ballinger wants to take more steps to ensure that all six schools in Rockcastle County are safe spaces for students.

“You can’t put a price tag on a child’s life,” Ballinger said. “School safety must be our top priority.”

Ballinger shared that on Friday she will meet with all of the managers to review their protocols and make sure they are ready should anything happen in Rockcastle County.

Ballinger also talked about plans to try to hire more senior resource officers for the Rockcastle County School District.

Richard L. Militello