The Muscogee County School District says it is reinforcing security precautions in response to national concerns about school safety after last week’s massacre at a Florida high school.
In a Thursday evening news release titled “MCSD Urges Additional Precautions Promoting Campus Safety,” the district doesn’t denote which precautions are being added. MCSD communications director Mercedes Parham told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email, “None of these are new. We are reinforcing them across all campuses.”
Here is the list:
▪ All visitors must check in at the front office of the school to gain entry.
▪ Visitors must present state-issued identification such as a driver’s license, passport or military I.D. to receive a visitor’s pass from the school.
▪ Each visitor must indicate his/her destination in the school and proceed to that area only.
▪ Each visitor must display his/her school-issued pass at all times while on campus.
MCSD also is encouraging all parents, students and personnel to be vigilant in upholding the district’s weapons policy and report threats, the news release says.
▪ No student or employee should be in the possession of any form of a weapon or hazardous material, as defined by State law (O.C.G.A. § 16-11-121), while on campus.
▪ Any employee who has reasonable cause to believe a student is in possession of a weapon is required to report the violation to school administration.
▪ If a principal has reasonable cause to believe the aforementioned report is valid, he/she must immediately make an oral report to the superintendent and law enforcement.
▪ If students, parents, or employees bear witness to threats made toward any district campus, those should be immediately reported to administrators and law enforcement.
▪ Threats of any kind made to the district, its personnel or students will be taken seriously and result in a thorough investigation conducted by law enforcement.
▪ Students who make threats, on or off campus, will face immediate disciplinary action and possible criminal charges.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those impacted by the senseless and heinous tragedy that occurred at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School,” MCSD superintendent David Lewis said in the news release. “Parents and communities across the nation are understandably concerned for the safety of their children and school employees, as are we at the Muscogee County School District. For this reason the MCSD has taken a proactive and aggressive approach in preparation for a possible active shooter situation. Working in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies, district officials provide training in active shooter incidents to include a family reunification exercise, as well as unannounced drills in schools throughout the year. In addition, the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (ESPLOST) funding has enabled the district to install various monitoring devices and safety equipment in all schools throughout the district.”
District-wide safety measures are implemented in accordance with state law, which requires a safety plan for each school, the news release says. Each school designates an on-site safety team, led by a coordinator, which meets each month and conducts threat assessments in collaboration with law enforcement.
“Safety plans are comprehensive and include standard operating procedures regarding emergency responses, including acts of violence such as civil disturbances, armed intruders, mass casualties or hostage situations,” the news release says.