Whetsel, meanwhile, said meetings Thursday morning at Deer Creek schools were intended to introduce deputies to the children and make them feel at ease with their presence.
“We want the children to understand that they're coming in not because something bad happened but just to say ‘hi' and check in on them,” he said. “We had our mascot, Brisco, there and it was a phenomenal success. We were able to associate fun with being around law enforcement officers.”
Andi Neaves, whose three daughters attend Deer Creek public schools, said the news of the increased security came as a pleasant surprise.
“I'm thrilled to hear about it,” Neaves said. “I'm very thankful to the school administration, teachers, and sheriff deputies who basically step in harm's way to protect our children. I figure we have extra security at airports, why not have it in schools? What is more important to us than our children's safety?”
Whetsel said the increased security will not come with any extra costs to the schools. Security will be enhanced on every campus.
Kates said despite the seemingly safe environment in the school district, extra security is necessary.
“We're a very safe district; people move here to be a part of our school district,” she said. “But the bottom line is that a threat can come from anywhere. A tragedy can happen anywhere. This is about us taking extra precaution.”
Tonya Lee Noon, whose daughter attends a Deer Creek Elementary School, said she is thankful for that extra precaution.
“I hate that the times aren't as innocent as they used to be,” she said, “but I feel a lot more secure dropping my child off at school knowing there will be armed officers there to protect her.”