Addressing school safety after California elementary shooting

LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WHLT) — After a gunman opened fire inside a San Bernardino, California classroom Monday killing a teacher, student and himself; we sat down with local schools to take a closer look at their safety measures for students and employees.

Pine Belt schools have their student’s safety at heart.

“That is first and foremost, I’ve always said that. If they don’t feel safe. They are not going to be the best learner that we need them to be,” said Tess Smith, Lamar County School District Superintendent.

She says that in order to be prepared at all times, training has to become second nature.

“Our officers train regularly. They are all up to date. We also rotate our officers throughout the different schools so they know the buildings, they know the classrooms and storage rooms.”

Smith maintains 16 schools in the district and in order to make sure all campuses are secure they constantly hold active shooter, lock down and evacuation drills.

And after drills, they typically meet to discuss how they went.

“We’ve also invited Lamar County Sheriff’s Department as well as volunteer fire department to come in and watch us do these drills and give us input – how can we do this better? Where do we need to improve?”

The first safety measure that you might come across when trying to enter into any of the Lamar County School District’s campuses is that in order to gain access into the building you have to identify yourself.

“Then when you come into the building they ask for your ID and you’re asked to sign in,” Smith said. “And that’s our access control. In locations where we don’t have that then we put other measure in place to ensure that they don’t go past that first desk.”

Although Smith says they can’t be prepared for everything, when something does happen they examine the incident and make their own evaluations.

If parents feel like the district could do something better, Smith encourages them to contact the district and share their ideas.

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