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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Schools prepared if tragedy happens

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Being a parent is not an easy task but the last thing any parent wants to worry about is their child's safety at school.

In the past several years there have been school shootings throughout the United States. After the most recent shooting Oct. 27 at University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway most parents can't help but wonder what local schools are doing to improve the quality of our children's protection.

Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver said training for an emergency situation is an ongoing process because guidelines and procedures can change. The police chiefs from each town have regular meetings with the sheriff's department to keep everyone updated on the emergency plans.

One of the important things to have planned are post sites, or places to meet, for everyone. Sheriff Weaver said there are post sites for the police, emergency medical services, media and parents and students. Sheriff Weaver said these post sites are set to lessen the amount of chaos if there should ever be an event of this nature.

The sheriff's department has a binder for each Sharp County school that includes that school's emergency plan, the blueprints for the school and a list of contact numbers, among several other things. "I have done a physical evaluation with Highland and Williford schools and talked with Cave City schools to suggest things that could be improved to help with security," Sheriff Weaver said.

"All of the schools have been very good at getting back to us and are concerned about their students and staff," Sheriff Weaver said. Sheriff Weaver said at the beginning of the school year Highland requested a training session on emergency situations. Sheriff Weaver provided some educational videos and held a class for the staff.

"I have provided all of the schools with manuals," Sheriff Weaver said. Some of the manuals provided include Threat Assessment in Schools and Early Warnings-Timely Results, which are both put together by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education.

"This (school shootings) is the most sobering part of this job to be faced with," Sheriff Weaver said. "You hope you do everything right."

Sheriff Weaver and Highland Superintendent, Ronnie Brogdon both said you can never have too much training and the response from local agencies has been tremendous when these drills and training courses have been provided.

"From what I have observed in these drills, I believe that our students will be in good hands if a real crisis actually occurred," Brogdon said.

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