Security study by Long Beach 3rd graders still significant as bond vote approaches

Security study by Long Beach 3rd graders still significant as bond vote approaches

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - A massive study about school security in the Long Beach school district, that includes detailed solutions, is gaining momentum. However, it wasn't done recently. The study blaring the warning sirens was done three years ago, not by a professional consulting company, but by third-graders.

"It makes me feel very joyous and happy that me and my friends all did something that helps kids and adults in the future stay safe," said student Eric Sutton.

These soon-to-be sixth-grade students were among a class in the Reeves Elementary School Discovery Program who took on the project called Project Citizen. It was this project that influenced Long Beach School District leaders to bring in the FBI and Homeland Security for a formal security survey.

The massive study and student survey, led by gifted instructor Carol Paola, required a year to complete.

"The fact that they were already concerned about it at the time they were third graders, that says a lot about the importance of the project itself and of the issues," Paola said.

The practice run on Sunday for the presentation is one of several that have been done since the bond issue began to upgrade Long Beach High School. "A big piece of it is that kids can make a difference," Paola said. "And when you are taking on a real-life issue that sometimes you don't realize the impact that you will have."

The students not only documented known problems, they identified potential solutions. "You have to find out more about the problem before you can actually go and figure out how to solve it," said student Hannah Walters.

For the students, it was a lesson that should be learned by everyone. "I learned how to make an analysis out of statements, like in facts. Statements in facts, instead of just plain out emotions," Eric said.

LBHS teacher Rebecca Bradley was part of the student-led survey and says she is still impressed with the effort.

"To have these kids at such a young age learn to not only problem solve and to analyze the situation and get out and interview and compile data and put everything together like this is absolutely amazing," she stated.

The bond issue will be Aug. 2 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The only polling location for the bond issue will be at Long Beach High School.

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