Paragould High School holds meeting to discuss safety

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – The recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut prompted school administrators to review some of their safety measures, as well as inform parents and patrons about what they've been doing for years to keep kids safe.

"We take safety very seriously here in this district," Interim Superintendent of the Paragould School District, Debbie Smith told parents at Wednesday night's meeting. 
"We do have several safety measures in place that a lot of parents and patrons are not aware of," Smith said.
Measures such as crisis plans for different scenarios and lock down drills that the Paragould Police Department is involved with every time.
"We've been training inside the schools for a long time," Blake Williams, a SWAT team leader with PPD said at the meeting. Williams told parents that by training in the schools, they're familiar with the layout and by assisting with lock down drills, they're able to tell teachers and administrators what they did right and what areas they could improve on.
At the meeting, parents discussed their concerns regarding access to some of the buildings in the district, as well as keeping a shooter from accessing the building to begin with.
Smith let parents know that along with looking into getting a school resource officer through the Paragould Police Department, something that was approved in the city's 2013 budget, teachers, administrators and the school safety teams continually look at what can be done to better secure some of the older buildings in the district. Some of those buildings that were built in the 60's and 70's have multiple doors and large windows.
In all, the security measures in the Paragould School District made parent, Kerri Garrison feel her children are being well taken care of.
"They look at all aspects of safety," Garrison said. "The entire classroom, the entire building, the entire campus, the community and even the child as a person, they're very aware of teaching the workers what to look for. It's very reassuring. I have peace in my heart."

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