PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Like all schools in South Mississippi, the 19 schools in the Pascagoula-Gautier School District have officers on campus. All of them are equipped with the tools needed to help in the event of an emergency.
WLOX News Now spoke with Sergeant Vincent Nicholson. He patrols Colmer Middle School and said step one in an emergency situation - engage the threat.
Sgt. Nicholson walks the halls at Colmer Middle several times a day. He patrols the hallways, inside and outside, and checks classrooms to make sure all 608 students are safe.
"Of course, all plans are evolving, but you do the best you can," he said.
To help him do that, the Pascagoula-Gautier School District has cameras on all campuses. Colmer has 30. School officials can access those cameras, anytime from anywhere.
"Right now, in this building, you can see the movement of students. We have multiple cameras in the building and you're able to remotely access it," said Superintendent Wayne Rodolfich.
Rodolfich said that's just one safety feature within the district. Teachers and students are also constantly practicing drills.
"Not only do we do that. We are continually updating what we're doing. We're in the process of updating right now based on some of the activity that occurred in Florida," he added. "Fire drills are being handled differently... The person who came in the building did some things that was something that made us think how we handle our procedures now."
Sgt. Nicholson said in the Florida school shooting, he may have done things a little differently.
He said, "I don't judge the person, but I do judge the inaction. If that was me being placed in that situation, I would not wait. I would go in."
"So, in an active shooter situation, we actually go in and engage that threat," said Chief Calvin Hutchins.
The former Moss Point police chief said all resource officers on campuses are trained to press forward, engage the threat, and keep these kids safe.
He agrees with Sergeant Nicholson's approach.
Hutchins said, "Anytime you have an active shooter, we don't have time to wait. Our children, our staff are important to us. We engage the threat."
In an active threat situation, students and teachers are taught to go in the classroom, lock the doors, and turn off the lights. Then get in a fire drill position, basically a huddle.
Superintendent Rodolfich said the main thing to remember is to let law enforcement do their job.
Click here for a complete list of all the districts in South Mississippi and how the schools are protected there.