Schools beef up security after Florida shooting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Schools beef up security after Florida shooting

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Security is on every parent's mind after Wednesday’s deadly school shooting in Florida.

Schools throughout the Mid-South have made it clear that safety is their first priority. But some parents are asking if it’s enough.

Many Mid-South parents were excited and anxious to give their little ones a hug after news of yet another school shooting has them on edge

"It was just fear, ya know?" grandparent Jan Hardrick said.

Hardrick said there's fear in the back of her mind as she drops her grandson off at school every day, something many parents can relate to.

That’s why school administrators are doing all they can to put parents at ease.

John Combs with Tipton County Schools said his district beefed up security after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting in 2012.

"The biggest things we've done is limited access to buildings, so we have buzzing systems now in everyone one of our locations,” Combs said. “Every school, central office, they all have buzzing systems so that's limited access and that's made things a whole lot more secure."

Other municipalities throughout the Mid-South said they're doing the same.

Desoto County Schools released this statement:

"Safety is DeSoto County Schools' top priority.  Our staff receives extensive and ongoing training, and emergency drills are practiced on a regular basis."

Collierville Schools also said training is vital to student safety, releasing this statement: 

"Each of our eight schools has both an emergency preparedness plan and a trained emergency response team."

Some schools even sent voice messages to parents acknowledging the heightened emotions after the tragedy in Florida.

Principal Andy Demster at Maxine Smith Steam Academy sent the following message to parents Thursday morning:

"The safety of your students and our schools are our number one priority at all times. We take campus security extremely serious here at STEAM and Middle College."

But even with the reassurance, the training, and secure doors and cameras, 17 lives are gone and parents still don't think it's enough.

"I don't think that's enough, I really don't, I really don't,” Hardrick said. “It's a good idea and a good thought but it's so much going on in the world right now anyway. I don't think we have the police officers enough."

Shelby County Superintendent Dorsey Hopson also took to Twitter sharing his heartache.

Hopson's full statement about the Florida shooting is below:

The tragic events in Florida Wednesday have shaken us all, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Broward County School District today. The topic continues to generate much conversation throughout our community and on social media, and we know this has led to concerns and questions for many of our students, employees and families.

There is no easy way to discuss the topic, but we want to do everything we can to reassure families that safety remains our top priority. We’ve re-emphasized our safety protocols to all school leaders today, and we will be scheduling additional trainings soon. We also want parents to know counseling support is always available for students in every school if they need it, and many resources are available for families as well. Our anonymous Safe Tips text line is available to all students and the public, so we encourage anyone with information that may help prevent a safety situation to use this tool. 

School & District Safety Measures:

  • All schools are required to participate in multiple emergency management drills every school year, including lockdown/intruder, evacuation, fire safety, severe weather and medical emergency drills.
  • In addition to the annual emergency management drills, the District will be requiring all schools to participate in further active shooter training this school year.  
  • All schools have a 13-member incident command team to handle emergency situations, as well as emergency management plans with detailed instructions for each type of emergency.
  • All of the District’s Safety & Security officers are trained to respond to active shooter situations.
  • With support from the Memphis Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, officers are assigned to every middle and high school and collectively patrol and respond to incidents at our elementary schools.
  • In all emergency scenarios, staff is trained to be responsive and follow the directions of all public safety responders, including the District’s Safety & Security team and law enforcement agencies. 
  • Any time a 911 phone call is made from a school phone, it also automatically notifies the District’s Safety & Security team for additional support and coordination.
  • All schools have emergency communication systems to alert all families via phone, email and text regarding any emergency situation.

Student & Family Resources:

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