PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The man in charge of safety in Philadelphia Public Schools is talking about what the district is doing in the wake of the Texas school tragedy.
“Right now the fear in our system is real,” chief of school safety Kevin Bethel said. “These are the incidents that keep you up, the concern that someone could come to your school and do harm to your child.”READ MORE: Viewing Underway For Fallen Firefighter Lt. Sean Williamson In South Philadelphia: 'It's A Terrible Tragedy'
Kevin Bethel is watching the safety of staff and students even more closely Wednesday. It comes after Tuesday’s heart-wrenching Texas school massacre. An incident Bethel says no one can prepare for.
“It’s not natural to send your child to school and be told they were killed because someone came into the school using an assault rifle and killed them,” Bethel said.
With only weeks left until the end of the school year, the question families are asking is “how do we protect our most vulnerable?” Bethel, also the former Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner, says there are systems in place.READ MORE: Phillies' Bryce Harper Out Indefinitely With Broken Thumb After Being Hit By Pitch In 4-2 Win Over Padres
Every year the district conducts an active shooter drill to ensure more than 120,000 students know what to do, but that’s just the start.
“In an urban center because of the kinds of activity we often get we are very responsive to postings. We have a threat assessment team working with Philadelphia Police Department, Homeland security,” Bethel said. “Rather it’s a shooting we ensure we lock our schools down. You can’t just walk into our schools you have to be buzzed in.”
On staff, Bethel says there are over 300 unarmed school security officers patrolling schools. CBS3 asked if that could change in the future with added metal detectors and armed officers, his response was not yet.
“If that’s the case we should have armed officers in every supermarket, synagogue, every church. When do you stop and then you walk in through a metal detector just to go into a supermarket?” Bethel said. “I believe in good gun ownership but there also has to be some reality if we can’t control the flow what we see is the impact of that failure of those empowered.”MORE NEWS: South Philadelphia Shooting Leaves 2 Men Injured: Police
The Philadelphia School District says they plan to work with local law enforcement at Philadelphia schools for the remaining school year.