MEMPHIS, Tenn.– As the investigation continues into the horrific school massacre in Texas that resulted in the death of 19 children and two teachers, heightened concern for school safety rises.
School districts nationwide are now re-evaluating their security measures and training and that’s no different here in the Mid-South.
Carolyn Jackson, the new Chief of Safety and Security for Memphis-Shelby County Schools, is reassuring families that the district is taking all precautions to keep everyone safe.
“Even though we don’t want something like this to happen we train for the unexpected and we always want to be prepared,” Jackson said. “When you work in security, there is a lot of things you can’t share with the public and for safety reasons but you try to let them know you are doing the best that you can.”
As reports surface that the gunman entered through an unlocked door, Jackson says that’s unlikely to happen at MSCS.
“That is an issue with a lot of schools districts where they prop doors open because our technology with our card access and a-phone systems. We keep all of our doors locked at all times and visitors must come to the front.. in order to gain access from the main office,” Jackson said.
This week, a teen was charged after bringing a concealed gun to White Station High.
The district said there was never any threat, but if there was Jackson said there is year-round active shooting training like what we witnessed in Collierville this week.
“We train every quarter. Sometimes we train monthly with our principals and administrative staff,” Jackson said.
Those instructions are then shared with students in moments of crisis.
“They give them instructions get down, get on the back side of the wall, cut the lights out, close and lock the doors.. so those are the kinds of things that actually keep you safe,” Jackson said.
With investments in metal detectors, security cameras, and alarms Jackson said more life-saving training is on the way this time from a team in Texas.
“We got 20 officers that’s going to be training all next week as trainers that can train the other staff on how you perform when there is an active shooting,” she said.
Jackson also said resource officers are stationed at each high school and middle school and are shared between elementary schools.