School districts continuing to make school safety a top priority

Pascagoula-Gautier School District Chief of Law Enforcement, Calvin Hutchins says they protect over 6,800 students each day.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Before anyone enters the doors at Trent Lott Academy in Pascagoula, they must be seen on camera and buzz the front office. No district employee can bypass that step, not even superintendent Dr. Wayne Rodolfich.

“We have exterior cameras,” he said. “We have interior cameras. Anytime we see something that just doesn’t look right, we trust our instincts and we investigate. Some people think that’s a little heavy-handed, but we are in the protection of students in these schools.”

On the heels of the Texas school shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead, safety continues to be a top priority for district leaders like Pascagoula-Gautier School District Chief of Law Enforcement Calvin Hutchins.

“We protect over 6,800 students a day,” he said. “1,400 staff members a day. It’s become personal to us, so we’re concerned.”

Being proactive isn’t new for the district. It has been a state and regional front-runner in school safety, providing resources such as social-emotional cards for students to combat mental health issues, and even treatment for cases of fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is a big issue along the corridor here on the Gulf Coast,” added Rodolfich. “We were the first district in the state to have a policy to administer NARCAN.”

Hutchins said attackers can’t be profiled and their goal is to kill as many people as they can. That’s just one reason why he’s not resting on his laurels one day ahead of summer break.

“Do not just lay down your guard, even though it’s the end of the school year,” he said. “We must continue to stay consistent until every student is off campus and we reach that summer break.”

The Pascagoula-Gautier School District currently has five school resource officers. Prior to Tuesday’s school shooting, plans to add at least two more were already on the table.

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