Park Hill High School to address school security at Tuesday night PTA meeting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Parents at Park Hill High School are on high alert after a student brought a handgun to school last month. Now, those parents could play a major role in helping the school develop new initiatives to enhance security.

The Park Hill School District will host a PTA meeting at 7 p.m. in the school's auditorium Tuesday. School safety is on the agenda, and Principal Brad Kincheloe said he hopes parents will be candid and open about security changes they'd like to see.

In January, a student at the school brought a loaded .22 caliber handgun and ammunition to school. Another student found out about the weapon at the end of the school day and alerted school authorities.

A school resource officer found the gun and ammunition in the student's coat pocket.

Since then, Kincheloe said parents have reached out to him about increasing safety during and after school at sporting and extracurricular events.

Two ideas that have already surfaced center around the school's ability to force students to turn each other in if their peer alludes to having a weapon.

The school district is also considering amending its cell phone policy to allow students to use them during an emergency.

Kincheloe says the district is interested in putting the parent's ideas in place.

"This meeting will be a time for parents to let me know what's on their minds and a chance for me to share with parents what we are doing here to keep children safe," Kincheloe said, adding that the school district takes any threats from outside or inside the school very seriously.

Kincheloe noted that Park Hill South was on lock down last month after a nearby crime put the school at heightened risk. He explained that students locked their classroom doors and were advised to stay away from any windows, but that class work resumed.

Park Hill already has several strict safety measures in place. Students are required to wear IDs around their necks at all times. The school also recently added more security cameras, guards and locks on all external doors.

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