PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - The School Safety Act of 2019 (HB 1283) was signed in to law by Governor Phil Bryant on Wednesday morning. And schools in South Mississippi are preparing to make changes to increase safety in the classroom.
A buzzer is the first line of defense when it comes to keeping students safe at Delisle Elementary School.
“When you first walk in, we have to invite you into our school. You walk into the interior hallway so to speak, or entry way, and then our secretaries do a very first screening to give people access," said Superintendent Dr. Carla Evers.
Dr. Evers says it’s one of many safety upgrades and practices, not just at DeLisle Elementary, but at each school in the district. That includes fenced interior courtyards at the elementary schools, as well as cameras in the hallways and classrooms, monitored by school resource officers.
"We can see across an entire campus within moments, so that we would know where anyone that is undesirable on our campus may be. So there's not many places that you can hide, even on our campuses."
Dr. Evers says the School Safety Act of 2019 puts a new focus on actively preparing students and staff, should all else fail. Under it, schools are required to conduct active shooter drills.
“Just was reading an article just the other day which was how do we do that in a manner that doesn’t scare the children, but empowers the children. We want our children to feel like they know what to do in any emergency situation, which is why we practice,” said Evers.
Evers said they’re taking it a step further by providing first aid training and kits to teachers. She says it’s important they look for every way they can to keep students safe, especially in the wake of school shootings across the country in recent years.
“I think schools have just really started looking around at what’s going on around us, and saying I don’t think we want to take a wait and let’s see what happens approach. We want to be proactive in keeping our children safe.”
The School Safety Act will go into effect July 1.