School staff take human trafficking class ahead of new year

School staff take human trafficking class ahead of new year
Paragould School District high school girls will get opportunity to take part in free self defense evening course. (Source: KAIT)
Paragould School District high school girls will get opportunity to take part in free self defense evening course. (Source: KAIT)
Smith demonstrates how the ULockIt barricade device works on classroom doors. (Source: KAIT)
Smith demonstrates how the ULockIt barricade device works on classroom doors. (Source: KAIT)

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The Paragould School District is one of many schools that amped up on security over summer break.

Superintendent Debbie Smith said administrators worked the entire summer making security changes, including taking a class to learn more about the issue of human trafficking.

The district will house six school resource officers this year versus only three last year.

"There are nine campuses in the district," said Smith. "This year, we will have the school resource officers who are members of the Paragould Police Department and they will be on our campuses every day during the school year."

Smith said they've also installed additional security cameras district-wide.

Each classroom has a ULockIt barricade device on its doors, which allows zero access into the room.

Every bus on campus is decked out in exterior and interior cameras, and the drivers have access to emergency radios.

This summer, certified staff took part in professional development to understand and identify domestic minor sex trafficking.

"The professional development included statistical information, the definition and types of trafficking, language and terms used to explain and describe trafficking, the location of recruitment of children, the high-risk characteristics of children forced into trafficking, the indicators and warning signs of victims, and what steps to take if a child is believed to be a victim of sex trafficking," said Smith.

For the upcoming school year, high school girls will have the opportunity to take part in an evening self-defense course.

"All six resource officers are on board and they are ready to be able to provide self-defense tactics to our high school students," said Smith. "We want them to be able to have something they can use in the event that there is an incident where they need to be able to protect themselves."

Smith said the district will continue to look for even more ways to better prepare students, staff and to keep them safe.

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