Moore County Schools received many inquiries as to how the school manages the safety and security of students and staff at the district’s 23 schools after the school shooting in Florida.
A former student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at a Florida high school Wednesday, killing at least 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets in the nation’s deadliest school shooting since a gunman attacked an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Members of the Moore County Schools Safe and Healthy Schools Committee came together today at the Central Office to discuss the tactics used by the Florida school shooter and to strengthen the district’s safety protocols and to close the gaps made evident by the recent shooting.
The committee issued a press release to “provide parents with an overview the activities Moore County Schools does to prepare in the event a crisis happens on one of our campuses whether it be a natural disaster, an accident or intentional.”
The Committee meets on a regular basis to reevaluate methods, protocols, and procedures relating to school safety and security, according to the news release.
The committee has representatives from the district’s Office of Student Support Services, Moore County Schools Police, the district’s health programs manager, a mental health professional, the district’s Operations and Communications Departments, as well as the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, the Moore County Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management, First Health, municipal law enforcement agencies and first responders.
In addition to the district-level committee, each school has a Campus Emergency Response Team who are trained and assigned specific duties and responsibilities if a crisis event occurs at a school. CERT teams recently participated in a district-wide emergency table-top exercise with local law enforcement and the Sheriff’s Office specifically responding to an active shooter.
In the press release, the school system wrote, “Moore County Schools is fortunate to have its own police force which gives the district an advantage in having a visible law enforcement on campus who build relationships with and interact with students on a daily basis. In turn, School Resources Officers have relationships with local law enforcement in their respective communities.”
Starting next school year, each school will have received Youth Mental Health First Aid Training. The training will provide school staff to be better equipped to support the mental health needs of the students.
The American flag and North Carolina flag flown at half-staff at The Village Hall in Pinehurst in honor of the victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
In addition, the news release stated, in the coming weeks, Student Support Services staff, administrators, and school resource officer will be participating in a threat/risk assessment training from an instructor who was heavily involved in working with the Florida officials in the aftermath of the shooting.
According to the press release, some of the security protocols cannot be shared publicly; however, regular security procedures include the locking of campus’ doors and using a key fob system, and managing access points to campuses.
All schools routinely conduct lockdown drills and participate in training on emergency procedures to reduce or eliminate the threat of school violence.
State lawmakers are discussing the security of students after the Florida shooting as well.
A North Carolina lawmaker says allowing teachers to bring guns to school would save lives in situations such as the deadly school shooting in Florida.
Republican state Rep. Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County told colleagues Thursday that he met with a police officer who wants to talk to lawmakers about training school personnel.
Pittman spoke during a meeting of the Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee. He said he’s brought up the topic before but his proposal was “sneered at in a very dismissive manner.”
Committee co-chairman Sen. Ron Rabin, a Republican from Harnett County, said he’d like to hear from the police officer.
“We’ll hear it in the next session, as far as I’m concerned,” Rabin said. The committee’s next meeting hasn’t been scheduled.
On the same day North Carolina lawmakers brought up the topic of allowing teachers bringing guns to school, a Moore County School Counselor was arrested for bringing a weapon to school.
Stephanie Davis, a seventh-grade counselor at Southern Middle School, was arrested by the Aberdeen Police Department yesterday. Davis is no longer employed with Moore County Schools as a result.
In addition, the leader of the North Carolina House plans a new committee to study what changes could be made to improve school safety.
The announcement was made Friday by a spokesman for House Speaker Tim Moore. Joseph Kyzer says the bipartisan panel — with members announced next week — will examine current safety standards and procedures in North Carolina’s K-12 schools to “ensure the highest level of safety.”
The committee would make recommendations to the full House, which next returns for session in May.
The North Carolina legislature passed laws following a 2012 Connecticut school shooting designed to beef up school security and emergency response requirements. They included annual safety exercises and school panic alarms.
The Moore County Schools’ press release is asking parents, caregivers, and students to report a threat or suspicious behavior to the Moore County Schools Police Safety Hotline at 910-947-5061 or text 910-986-9747, or dial 911.
Feature photo: Members of the Moore County Schools Safe and Healthy Schools Committee (contributed by Moore County Schools).
This article was written with the help of the Associated Press.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.