The pupil accounting office is the first place a visitor to Biloxi High School must stop. The visitor's card you get is a safety precaution. It emphasizes the priority the Biloxi school district places on school safety.
"We practice our safety plans a great deal in the school district in order to try to emphasize safety for all students and staff," school superintendent Dr. Larry Drawdy says.
Each school's safety plan is spelled out in three ring binders. This week, Sarah McQuillin and her team of safety inspectors are in Biloxi to scrutinize each school's emergency preparations. She said, "We look at their program, their policies and their procedures, what they're doing to be prepared for an emergency."
Biloxi schools already have the crisis response boxes that Gov. Musgrove is ordering every Mississippi school to put together. In it you'll find everything from a megaphone, to flares, to a school handbook manual, to a student roster to a teachers roster, anything that can help the school or authorities in an emergency. Dr. Drawdy believes the box "is a necessary point of trying to be safe."
As you walk through Biloxi schools, you notice that administrators have banned the use of lockers, and locked the doors to classrooms. They're taking every precaution they can to make sure students and teachers are safe. The state assessment team seems impressed.
"We're totally pleased with what we're seeing," McQuillin said. "I can only give them high commendations."
On Friday, the state's 10-member safety team will meet with local emergency officials. They'll assess whether the community is ready to help out if a Biloxi school ends up in a crisis situation.