Emergency plan effective in bizarre school incident - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Emergency plan effective in bizarre school incident

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Quick thinking by staff members and a good emergency plan prevented a strange visit at a Tift County school from becoming more serious.

When a man tried to get access to the halls of 8th Street Middle School Thursday, he was intercepted by the principal and later arrested.

Thursday's bizarre visit is the very reason school systems have emergency plans in place. Because the school was prepared, 54-year old Earl Smith was only in the building for less than a minute.

The bizarre incident at 8th Street Middle School shows the need for vigilance with visitors every day.

"When they come in our front doors they can enter our lobby area and then they can go no further than the lobby area before they are greeted by security doors," said principal Dr. Ryan Gravitt.

 Smith was only in the hallway for a matter of seconds before Dr. Gravitt stepped in.

"Our receptionist did an excellent job at the front counter making sure he was not allowed to go in and then when he got passed her she got me immediately so everything out here happened the best that we could hope for," said Dr. Gravitt.

The principal says no extra security is needed after Thursday's incident because unwanted visitors wont get far.

"We have our building locked down and it is very difficult to get in from outside without coming through the front office. He did not stop and ended up going around the counter but we consider ourselves to be an extremely safe school," said Dr. Gravitt.

The school resource officer helped out too.

"I had a law enforcement officer on him from the time he exited the building till the time that he was caught him if I would have had to call 911 even with the best response time all I could have given them was the direction he was headed in and it could have taken who knows how long," said Dr. Gravitt.

The principal says at no point was anyone in the building in danger, and he credits this to amazing staff and law enforcement officers.

Earl Smith  faces a number of charges including aggravated assault.

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