Cherokee Nation Marshals increase safety at Sequoyah Schools

January 17, 2013
Cherokee Nation Marshal and Sequoyah School Resource Officer Franky Dreadfulwater and School Resource Officer Clay Troutman brief Cherokee Nation Marshal Capt. Danny Tanner during a lockdown drill at Sequoyah Schools on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Marshals are running new active school shooter drills to keep Sequoyah School students safe in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

Sequoyah Schools also added new safety locks and armed security on its campus as part of a revised, beefed up school safety plan.

“As the son of professional educators, I believe we have a responsibility to provide a safe and protective environment for our children and for our school faculty and staff,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Any action we take that could prevent a scenario like what we saw in Connecticut, we owe it to our students and their families. Well-developed safety protocols coupled with rehearsed emergency response plans will only make Sequoyah Schools stronger and safer.”

On Jan. 16, Sequoyah High School and the Cherokee Immersion Charter School practiced a lockdown exercise with more than a dozen Cherokee Nation Marshals securing entryways and checking classroom doors. An active school shooting drill will be held later this spring.

“Student safety continues to be top priority at Sequoyah Schools,” Superintendent Leroy Qualls said. “We will take any threat seriously and will follow whatever measures deemed appropriate to ensure that our students and staff remain safe.”

Sequoyah implemented a new locked doors policy on its campus. The only unlocked door is the main entrance. The Cherokee Immersion School also has newly installed locks on all classrooms, and teachers at both levels will keep their doors locked during the school day.

The Cherokee Nation Marshal Service has placed three armed officers at Sequoyah, two during the day and one in the evening.

“You cannot guarantee that an incident will happen, but you can take every action possible in the hope of preventing such an incident and that is why we have proposed and implemented the changes in the safety procedures,” said Shannon Buhl, Director of the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service. “This is very personal to me. We are protecting our own.”

Buhl is a national level active shooter instructor and teaches classes across the state. Active shooter exercises are used to instruct and prepare police departments and other law enforcement agencies on proper technique and organization for such an incident.

“We are very fortunate to have the resources that our tribe will provide,” said Tribal Council member Joe Byrd. “To perform these exercises and drills is important because it prepares our Marshals and school officials even if they never need it.”

The Marshal Service and tribal officials are currently reviewing and revising the safety measures for the Cherokee Nation’s W. W. Keeler Complex as well.

Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896
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