HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The Harrison County School District is getting even more serious about security.
In addition to emergency response and crisis training, the district is making technological and structural changes to help keep children and staff safer this year.
The safety training is mandatory for good reason. People can die when you make mistakes.
“It’s a team effort when we’re protecting a school, or anything for that matter,” said Jim Brinson with the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security. “It’s not just law enforcement. It’s not just school resource officers, but teachers, faculty and staff all kind of need to know their role.”
Brinson said pre-planning is key.
“Because it does a couple of things. One, it keeps your brain from freaking out. So, when your brain actually knows, ‘hey, we had this conversation, I’m going out this door and I’m running to this building,’ you have a plan, and when we have a plan, we react a lot faster and more efficiently," Brinson said.
In addition to active shooter training, the Harrison County School District is implementing a new security system, which is called the hall pass. Basically, you scan in your government-issued ID and it gives you a hall pass at all of the 22 campuses including Central Office.
The process also does a quick background check through the national sexual offender database and checks for custodial issues.
“It will make the parents and the visitors alike, the employees feel a lot safer,” said Cathy Garner, the district’s director of security. “It goes hand in hand with the other security measures that the district’s doing, with enclosed entrances, video surveillance. It’s all one package.”
Also new for this upcoming school year is that schools like Three Rivers Elementary have new security door entrances that act as traffic control.
“Now all the traffic goes to the office where we have a magnetized door, and if we don’t press a little button, you don’t get to our kids,” said Kevin Roberts, Three Rivers Elementary assistant principal. “We want people to come to the school. We want people to see all the great things going on in our school. We just want to know who’s coming in and out of the school.”
School officials said the new systems in place have parent support, going back to the school bond issue passed in the fall that provided for the new safety measures.