Nearly a year after Townville Elementary shooting, superintenden - FOX Carolina 21

Nearly a year after Townville Elementary shooting, superintendent talks safety changes

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Memorial after shooting at Townville Elementary (Sep. 29, 2017/FOX Carolina) Memorial after shooting at Townville Elementary (Sep. 29, 2017/FOX Carolina)
TOWNVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Nearly one year after a tragic shooting claimed the life of 6-year-old Jacob Hall at Townville Elementary, the district is looking at how they can learn from the incident.

Superintendent Dr. Joanne Avery said the district is continuing to struggle with the loss of Jacob, who passed away at the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to the leg on the playground.

Avery said long-term floating substitute teachers have been placed at the school to help teachers who may need help in the aftermath of the tragedy.

"We continue to grieve, we miss him," she said. "He was a bright and shining star."

The district also hired a school resource officer in the weeks following the shooting. By the end of 2018, Avery said they plan to have six SROs, with one stationed at each school.

Level-one trauma kits have also been installed in all the schools in hopes of providing aid in the minutes between an emergency and when first responders can arrive on scene. She said her nurses have to be prepared for the kind of injuries "seen on the battlefield."

"As we look forward, we want to be prepared," Avery said.

Avery said in order to better understand vulnerable areas for safety, they have been working with SWAT and other law enforcement to improve protection for students and staff.

Knox-boxes, or rapid emergency entrances on the schools, were only accessible to fire departments at the time of the shooting, Avery said. Law enforcement have since visited every school in the district and installed additional rapid entry boxes to allow officers quick access as well.

She said having a relationship with first responders is incredibly important in the event of an emergency situation. The quick response of firefighters and police on the day of the shooting was one of their successes, Avery said, along with the brave actions of teachers who worked to save students.

"Clearly our first responders were our hero that day," Avery said. "They were there, they provided the support that was needed, but then in the months to follow they were still there."

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