Worth schools evaluate their security - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Worth schools evaluate their security

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Frank Maneer, a school safety coordinator for GEMA, spent hours walking through every school Frank Maneer, a school safety coordinator for GEMA, spent hours walking through every school
Worth Co. Elementary School Principal Steven Rouse Worth Co. Elementary School Principal Steven Rouse
SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) -

Safety and security policies could be changing at Worth County schools.  A state official is helping school leaders revamp current standards to beef up security.    

GEMA's school safety coordinator toured Worth County Elementary School, looking for ways to improve security and ultimately keep students safe.     

Worth County schools are re-evaluating their safety standards.   "As a school, school safety is the very first thing we think about each and every day.  Obviously we focus on academics, but school safety is always first and foremost in our minds each and every day," said Worth Co. Elementary School Principal Steven Rouse.     

Worth County schools asked GEMA for some help to improve their existing policies.  "If I can look and I can see you and you can see me... No good," said Frank Maneer, a school safety coordinator for GEMA. He spent hours walking through every school, looking for ways to enhance security.  

"We come out and we're not regulatory so we're not inspecting.  What we're doing is surveying and giving recommendations to help ensure both the school, staff and students have the safest environment they have to get an education."

"Overall I thought the survey went very well.  We do this periodically, have GEMA and our local emergency management agency come in and they just give us an outside view of what we're currently doing and offer up suggestions," Rouse said.

Suggestions that will hopefully protect students and teachers.   "We talked about Sandy Hook and how it changed things.  With Sandy Hook, he didn't break in a door..."     

The Sandy Hook shooting massacre in December 2012 impacted every school system across the country. "Sandy Hook changed a lot about the way schools look at safety," said Maneer.  "A catastrophic incident, but it brought about the needs the schools have to step up and do safety and security evaluations and sometimes change what the existing practices are."    

Now Maneer's next step is developing a report for each school and helping them implement the best plan to keep students safe.    

This safety survey is funded through the state, at no cost to the school system for this service.   School systems across Georgia have access to this program.

 

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