ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY) — Councilman Francis Touchet Jr. of District B discussed ways to protect schools in Vermilion Parish in the wake of the school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee.

Touchet Jr. says that when watching the video of the shooting, he noticed that although doors were locked, the shooter “blew the whole door and unlocked the door and got in.”

“Here’s the one thing that we learned after doing a lot of research. They were waiting for someone to get on, and this is what the guy was saying. ‘I need three. I need three. I need three.’ Three people before they moved into that school. There were three kids that got killed. Three adults that got killed,” Toucher Jr. said. 

Touchet Jr. said there is a difference between having an officer present on campus and not having one. In cases when an officer is on campus, it could save a life when needing to respond to the initial fire. 

“My question is, are we going to continue to think that this is not going to happen in Abbeville? Because no one thought it happened at that private school in Tennessee, and their doors were locked.”

Touchet Jr. says The Covenant School has precautions in place similar to like Vermilion Parish School Board has and Vermilion Catholic.

“My point is, but do we have someone to respond if something happens? Our most precious that we have is our kid, guys.” 

The councilman says he would like to se the Chief of Police place a resource officer in every school within Abbeville city limits.

Vermilion Parish Superintendent Tommy Byler says the biggest issue with working towards the council’s proposal is human capital. The budget has been increased. Schools are preparing to install more emergency call systems in classrooms. The problem is not in finances or resources, but rather a staffing issue.

“We’re doing our part. It’s more of a human capital thing. Chief knows I’ve been in his office. I mean, we are doing what we can, and Abbeville High doesn’t have anyone,” said the Superintendent. 

Chief Mike Hardy said the main thing that needed to be discussed was funding someone to permanently watch over Abbeville High School. Right now, city police patrol the school. 

Touchet Jr. responded, “We have to find ways, and we can’t use the excuse that we don’t have enough officers or we need a covered shift. Guys, I would much rather take somebody off the road and put them in a school because if something happens to a life, I’m going on record saying that we are not doing what we need to protect our kids on day-to-day.”

Christen Dubois, the assistant principal of Vermilion Catholic School, and Pastor Steve Delino with Harvest Time Christian Academy shared ways they are making their campus safer. 

“We harden the campus as much as possible. We build a fence and buzzer to buzz in,” said Delino. 

Dubois mentioned having police officers present at the school for five to ten minutes in the morning showed the effectiveness and set a “good mood and tone.”

“Our children are the most precious thing on Earth, and if we can protect them. If we can do whatever we can to protect them. There should not be any cost that’s too high for us to protect our children,” said Delino.

“If something happens, we’re all going to regret that we didn’t take the measures that we needed to,” said Touchet Jr. 

Chief Hardy said he is open to discussing school safety with the council and school administration. The council suggested he bring a proposal at the next scheduled meeting.