Lee County schools examine safety measures - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee County schools examine safety measures


Lee County School administrators met this morning to go over their safety plans in the wake of Friday's mass shooting

The superintendent says student safety has always been a top priority, but the Connecticut attack left some parents wondering how safe can administrators make a school.

At Kinchafoonee Elementary School the sound of a door unlocking is one indication this school has the safety of its students in mind.

A secretary must buzz in parents or visitors before they can enter the school.

"We try to do everything we can to provide a safe environment," said Lee County School Superintendent Dr. Lawrence Walters.

He held a meeting Monday morning with administrators to address the school safety measures following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"We talked about making sure that their plans were updated and that they were talking to the teachers and the staff. Several of our schools are sending letters home with students," he said.

School resource officers aren't stationed permanently at each of the system's nine schools, but they roam to every school and participate in occasional lockdown drills. The locking mechanism installed at Kinchafoonee in 2006 gives parents peace of mind.

"I don't want anyone in this school building that's not authorized to keep the children safe," said Richard Wilson.

His 7-year-old son attends the school. With closeness in age to those killed in Connecticut, it hits home. But like many parents, he feels the schools are doing everything they can.

"I'm thankful for this school and it's concern about our children and try to protect our children," he said.

'We'll have a lot of people in our school this afternoon and tomorrow. There different school activities and events which will bring parents and relatives into our schools. We're using that opportunity to remind that we are doing everything we can to provide safety," said Walters.

Months before the tragedy in Newtown, Lee County law enforcers conducted an active school shooter drill. The sheriff wants to see more training like that.

Sheriff Reggie Rachals says his officers learned a lot about how to handle an event in which a school is targeted by a gunman.

He says plans are in the works to include more than just law officers in handling the training.

"We want to teach and educate the teachers and the staff at the school so they can be aware of what's going on so they can have some insight as to what we may be doing as part of law enforcement," said Rachals.

GEMA has an emergency action plan for all schools in Georgia. It was enacted following the shootings at Columbine and Heritage High in Georgia in 1999.

Rachals says plans are in the works for another drill in the near future.

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