By Leah Banks
FAYETTE— In the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting that left at least 21 people, including 19 children dead in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday many families were left wondering how local schools prepare for active shooter situations.
For the Fayette County School System, local law enforcement officials work diligently with the local Board of Education in order to make local schools safer for students, faculty and staff
Following the tragedy, Fayette County’s BOE partnered with local law enforcement to have increased patrols the in the areas of the schools, according to Fayette County Public School Public Relations Coordinator Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.
“Students and parents may notice additional police presence today,” Berry-Dreisbach said, “Currently, we only have elementary school resource officers on staff at our outlying schools, which are North Fayette Elementary and Inman Elementary. Our other schools are within close proximity to law enforcement where officers can respond within minutes or seconds whereas North Fayette and Inman are more remote,” Berry-Dreisbach said.
Peachtree City Police Spokesperson Chris Hyatt said he is proud of the procedures and trainings that are set in place for county schools.
“In my opinion, Fayette County is one of the best prepared counties when it comes to procedures and protocols,” Hyatt said, “We work closely with Ted Lombard over at the board of education when it comes to safety in schools.”
Both Hyatt and Lombard speak are vocal about the ideas and protocols that can be implemented in local school systems. These resources range from coded keypad access to single-point access in front of school buildings.
According to Berry-Driesbach, each area school undergoes similar protocols as they pertain to the upkeep of safety for students, faculty, staff and employees that are inside each school. This includes having a security camera and intercom outside of the entrance before entering the school.
“Visitors must press the button to connect with the front office. The front office personnel can see the person through the camera. The person is asked to state their name and reason for visiting the school,” Berry-Dreisbach explained, “After that security checkpoint, the visitor is buzzed and in and enters a security vestibule. This forces the visitor to enter the front office, doors to enter the interiors of the school are locked.
Berry-Dreisbach expressed the details of the background check for each visitor, noting that the visitor must return to the front office, sign out and return the visitor’s pass before officially leaving school grounds.
When these protocols are compromised, officers and school officials are trained in code red drills, which are commonly called “lockdown drills.”
According to research done in a comprehensive school shooting study, the Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education discovered that 93% of school shooters planned their attacks in advance.
Further investigation into this study revealed that most attackers had access to and had used weapons prior to the attack.
Hyatt placed an emphasis on the training of the local police department, saying that Peachtree City officers undergo routine active shooter training.
“We do active threat training on a regular basis within the schools during the summers when time allows. This teaches officers what to do in these situations if they were to happen,” Hyatt said.
Hyatt continued on to explain the expansion of post-active shooter response. In this, officers look into different facets of the incident once the situation has been contained.
“For example, if a situation involves 500 kids, that means roughly 1,000 parents who are concerned and wanting answers. We need to put an emphasis on the aftermath. Most of the mass shooter situations have hours and hours of procedures that, as a county, I am proud to say we have been trained for,” Hyatt said