Preparing schools for emergencies

Published 10:42 pm Monday, December 17, 2012

Parents, schools, law enforcement respond to Conneticut shooting

Parents all over the country likely hugged their children a little tighter dropping them off at school yesterday following the tragic events in Newtown, Conn. Friday, Dec. 14.

The events sparked area parents to ask how safe locals schools are and if there is anything that needs to change.

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Both District One schools in South Carolina and Polk County schools began reviewing procedures on Monday, Dec. 17. District One officials sent out an automated phone message Sunday night alerting parents that policies will be reviewed and schools would practice emergency procedures this week.

Polk County Schools Superintendent Bill Miller said all principals are having meetings this week with teachers to review policies as well.

Miller said schools practice lockdowns periodically and local law enforcement often participates in those mock lockdowns to offer suggestions. Miller also said the schools are offering counseling to any students who may need it.

And obviously, school staff members are going to be more sensitive to who is coming into the school, Miller added.

“It’s certainly a sad, sad thing and seems so senseless,” Miller said. “It’s so gut-wrenching to think about.”

Miller said it appears the teachers and principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School did everything they could to protect the students and he has the upmost confidence that the teachers and principals would do all they could to protect our children in Polk County if something tragic ever occurred.

“We’re going to review procedures of keeping all outside doors locked,” Miller said. “It’s not a perfect system, but we do the best we can.”

Miller said Polk County School procedures have the same basic strategy as used in the Connecticut school; for teachers to lock rooms and get the students to safety.

In the case in Connecticut when the gunman shot his way into the school, solutions to any future shootings are difficult to figure out.

Miller said state and federal officials also need  to improve mental health programs. He said there are so many people and families who are in crisis and don’t know where to turn.