Westside Schools bettering safety protocols

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - As flags fly at half-staff at the campus of Westside Schools to honor victims of the latest school shooting in Texas, administrators are making changes to their safety protocols.

"When we see the cases that we've seen across the nation, we always sit down, my security staff and I, and we look at the way we do things," Westside Consolidated School District Superintendent, Scott Gauntt, said.

The staff reevaluated fire alarms and how they handle state-required fire drills.

The school previously ran "announced fire drills," which alerts teachers of the planned drill.

According to Gauntt, the district also does unannounced fire drills to give students and staff a realistic approach to a fire alarm, but that protocol has since changed.

"We will have no more of what we call unannounced fire events, but if we choose to have an unscheduled fire event we will use our intercom and say, teachers, this is a fire drill. Please, at this time react to the fire alarm that way they know it's not just someone pulling the alarm and us running out not knowing what's going on," Gauntt said.

The district will not discontinue having announced drills.

The security team has worked to change a number of things including evacuation routes.

"We are going to rotate our exit points, we evaluated all of them, so we know that they are ways to get our kids out in the open where they are safe," Gauntt said.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson's appointed School Safety Commission recently visited the Westside campus to gain security ideas that could help better secure other schools in the state.

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