Greenville Co. Schools readdressing safety after Florida school - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville Co. Schools readdressing safety after Florida school shooting

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(File/ FOX Carolina) (File/ FOX Carolina)

Greenville County Schools said principals at all schools will be available on Thursday to answer parents’ questions about security concerns after Wednesday’s deadly shooting at a Florida high school.

Principals will be visible during drop off times to answer these questions.

“As is often the case after a school shooting in our country GCS is receiving numerous calls today about our security procedures,” said Beth Brotherton, a spokesperson for the GCS.

She said until more is known about the methods and mode of entry used by the Florida shooter, Greenville County Schools will not be able to use it as a case study.

“We are going to continue to do the things we have always done to keep students safe,” Brotherton said.  “All exterior doors will remain locked and visitors must be buzzed in.  A second set of locked doors will prevent entry into the school.”

She said students and staff are taught to “Ignore the Door” and insist that visitors use the main entrance. 

“We are fortunate to partner with local law enforcement to have one or two resource officers at every high school, one officer or deputy at every middle school and a roving patrol at all of our elementary schools.”

Brotherton said all staff members are required to undergo active shooter training annually.  All students are also encouraged to report any concerns to administrators, teachers, counselors and law enforcement officers at school.

“An open line of communication is one of the best forms of prevention,” she said.

The school district released this statement on the Florida tragedy:

We are deeply saddened by what happened in Broward County yesterday afternoon.  We review our emergency procedures regularly with the help of local police chiefs, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, a retired FBI special agent, security consultants and employees we’ve hired with law enforcement backgrounds.  If valuable information can be gleaned from the ongoing investigation in Florida that team will take the findings into account.

Lt. Jeffrey Long with the Greenville Police Department is confident in Greenville County Schools' ability to handle situations like what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Wednesday.

"As an active shooter instructor, I'm very comfortable knowing the response plans that we have in place," said Long. "And of course, being a father with children of my own int he public school system here in Greenville County, working with the district, I'm very comfortable sending my children to school."

Long said classroom training, scenario-type training and role playing activities are done periodically throughout the year to ensure the proper emergency protocols are in place.

Lt. Long also stressed the importance of addressing red flags.

"Signs to look for: withdrawn, unusual behavior, just out of the norm, being destructive, disobedient," Long explained. "Parent know their children. When you start seeing symptoms and signs of potential depression or our other symptoms that are red flags, that's when you really need to start to ask questions."

And in order to keep students safe, Long says communication is key.

"We interact with children throughout the schools. We try to develop relationships," said Long. "We want the students to get past the uniform themselves, and get to know the officer so that they feel comfortable speaking with the officers, because if they see something, they can say something."

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