School leaders plan to take a closer look at security - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School leaders plan to take a closer look at security

October 2, 2006

Albany-- This third school shooting in a week's time makes all of us nervous. We think our schools, our kids, are safe. But are they?

Steps are already in place at Dougherty County schools to prevent danger. It's the job of 18 police officers to make sure students and teachers are safe at the schools. But Monday's shocker in Pennsylvania has some Dougherty County school leaders wanting to take a second look.

This is the normal atmosphere of school that students are used to, daily lessons mingled with the brief chats with friends in the hallways. But recently, the atmosphere at some schools nationwide has changed.  Schools are dealing with killings on campus.

"It makes you think twice," says High School Senior Bragan Hughes.

"You never would think it would happen but then it did," says High School Senior Riane Kernan.

South Georgia students say although the recent shootings and killings took place miles away from here, they still make an impact.

"It kind of scared me to know that happened in such a small town and it could happen here," says Kernan. And it's something that doesn't just scare students.  School leaders also have renewed reasons to be concerned.

"It makes me have to think a lot about whether or not we have proper security in our schools," says Dougherty County School Board Chairman Willie Weaver. Weaver says he does feel confident in the current security at Dougherty County Schools.

"I really do but I think we live in a society where anything can happen," says Weaver. He says you can never be too safe.  These school murders may be a wake up call to beef up security measures in the school system.

"We do need to relook at our policy based on the number of shootings we've had in the past couple of weeks," says Weaver. A relook at how safe schools are may just prevent these devastating scenes from taking place here.

"It really makes me sad that kids are killing kids and grown folks are going in schools shooting a bunch of kids and I really don't know the reason. There's no legitimate reason," says Weaver. The recent deaths are the reason some friends are a little closer tonight.

"Your friend could be there one minute and gone the next," says Kernan.

"I just don't want it to happen to us," says Hughes. Some never thought it would.

Weaver says he plans to talk with Superintendent Sally Whatley and the Dougherty County School Police Chief to look at the current policy. He says the current policy is good but he wants to make sure they're doing all they can do to protect the schools.

One possible thing they may consider is increasing security on the outside of the schools in addition to the security cameras already in place.

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