West Memphis schools tighten security after Florida shooting

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — West Memphis schools are taking security seriously following a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and they hope other schools will follow their lead.

"It's scary you know, you used to think schools were the safest place to go," said Lorenzo Jones, whose daughter is a second-grader at Richland Elementary in West Memphis.

Like many, he's on edge following the tragedy in Florida.

Jones says at Thursday's parent-teacher conference, the teacher passed out a letter outlining safety measures all West Memphis schools are following.

It says all teachers will be teaching behind locked doors. If any verbal threat is made by any student, no matter the age, the police must be called, and lockdown drills are practiced monthly.

"Schools in West Memphis are doing everything they can," Jones said. "They are really, really taking this seriously."

Other parents also took notice.

"It made me feel a little more comfortable, especially the fact they're locking the doors," Thomas Foret said.

West Memphis Police Capt. Joe Baker says after the recent mass shooting in Parkland, his team met with the district to make sure they're doing everything they can and that every safety measure is followed.

He says these measures have been in place for years and he believes they work.

"We're going to the schools more often but our feeling on that is better safe than sorry," Baker said. "These are all things that when you have an incident like an active shooter, minutes matter. Seconds matter."

Baker said police will be there in several minutes to eliminate any school threat. They just need the schools to do is buy a few minutes until they can get there.

"It's sad that it's come to this, you know. I understand they have different measures and stuff they have to put forth."

WREG reached out to the district for a comment, but the secretary told us no one was available to talk Friday.