Protecting students in every way possible

Published 1:44 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We applaud the Shelby County Board of Education for approving its portion of a joint funding plan that could fund law enforcement officials in county schools.

We appreciate that the Board of Education is working with the County Commission and county municipalities to make this plan happen, and we look forward to seeing how it will benefit our schools.

However, we also appreciate the other ways in which the school system is actively working to protect its students.

Recently, representatives from Lathan Associates Architects unveiled plans for safety upgrades for all county schools.

These upgrades include:

-Building access — Visitors can only enter through one set of doors at the main entrance of each school. The entrance will have doors with magnetic locks and cameras, and school officials in the main office must identify and approve each visitor.

-Containment — Visitors must sign in at the main office upon entering the school. Doors with magnetic locks will be installed at hallway entrances to ensure visitors check in first.

-Hallway access — School officials must unlock magnetic doors to allow visitors to enter the hallway.

Also, all other points of entrance to the main building or exterior buildings on all school campuses will remain locked at all times.

Safety teams from each county school also participated in an “active shooter training” June 11. While it’s impossible to ever be completely ready for a situation with an active shooter in any school, making sure our educators have the best training possible will go a long way toward keeping kids and adults safe in a crisis situation.

School safety is more than having officers in schools — it’s also thinking through any potential situation.

If we can make it harder for those who wish our kids harm to even get into the building, we’ve taken a giant step forward. And if educators can be better trained in minimizing damage if an active shooter does get inside, then we’ll have covered many of the steps necessary to keep our schools safe.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.