As phone calls started to flood into area schools Friday afternoon, all 169 principals in Wake County received emails outlining how they could verbalize their emergency preparedness plans with families.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting in Connecticut, many are looking for ways to make sure their children are safe here at home.
“I want to assure all families of the Wake County Public School System that safety and academic success are our top priorities for every student,” Interim Superintendent for Wake County Schools Dr. Stephen Gainey said in a statement Monday.
Public relations representative for Wake Schools Mike Charbonneau said there are both district and individual levels of security for each school, including two levels of lockdown. A code yellow is used when the outer doors of the campus must be locked and no one can go in or out of the building. Charbonneau said this is used when there is a crime in the area and students aren’t in direct danger.
A code red is used when individual classrooms must be locked. In those cases, students are considered in immediate danger.
Gainey said each school has site-specific safety plans, crisis-response measures, annual training and drills and law enforcement presence. Drills also include full-scale exercises with law enforcement and emergency responders.
The Wake County Schools security team and district leaders are in the process of reviewing emergency preparedness operations since the tragic event on Friday, Gainey said.
“As we assess school safety, our schools and district-level staff will be reviewing not only our crisis-response planning and training, but also day-to-day security at our 169 schools,” said Gainey. “The well-being of every student is of the utmost importance to me, to our 18,000 employees and to our school families. Let us continue to work together toward our common goals to ensure that every school is a safe, engaging learning environment that brings out the best potential of every student.”
And while children may worry about their safety, Gainey said the school system is here to help. Wake County Schools posted the National Association of School Psychologists guidelines at www.wcpss.net to help parents talk with their students about safety concerns.
Contact Kelly Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-552-5675.