SCS reveals safety procedures in wake of FL high school shooting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

SCS reveals safety procedures in wake of FL high school shooting

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

Mass shootings at school are among the things parents fear most, and many are wondering if the proper safeguards are in place at their child's school.

Shelby County schools released the following statement outlining its security procedures, hoping to put parents at ease:

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:

"I think it's a reminder that we're not given a certainty of tomorrow," Andrea Kennedy, a mother of two, said.

She said it's hard for her not to get choked up when thinking about the 17 lives lost at a Florida high school.

"A part of me just wants to bring him home so I can see where he is all the time and not worry about him being somewhere where I can't see him," Kennedy said.

Shelby County Schools officials hope to put parents at ease despite the tragedy.

In a statement, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said, "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."

The district said it's constantly providing training for teachers and students.

Some of those safety measures include requiring all schools to participate in emergency management drills, active shooter training, providing 13-member incident command teams at all schools to handle emergency situations, and having Memphis Police Department and Shelby County deputies at all middle and high schools.

"Here in Memphis, I feel like they're doing a great job with their security," said Sheila Heard, who has grandchildren who attend Shelby County Schools.

She said she's seen firsthand how SCS takes school security seriously.

"A lot of times I've tried to get to my children, my grandkids, to go visit them. The security was tight," Heard said.

But even with the reassurance, the training, and the increased security--the reality is scenes like the one Wednesday in Florida have become all too common.

"I think every time it happens it doesn't seem to hit people as hard, but then you feel bad, like, wait a minute, this should hit you hard every single time," Kennedy said.

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