RPES Principal Stephanie Jackson stands in front of a large monitor used for viewing the campus.

‘Students are safe’

Published 8:59pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

First-year A.C. Moore Elementary School principal John Brantley said news Friday of 20-year-old Adam Lanza’s shooting spree that killed 20 students and six adults at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school was ‘heartbreaking.”

“It’s a principal’s worst nightmare, it’s a teacher’s worst nightmare, it’s a community’s worst nightmare, it’s just a nightmare,” he said. “It made me go back and think about the security plans we have in place.”

So much so that faculty at the Atmore school for third and fourth graders reviewed those plans during a meeting Monday, three days after the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Our teachers have a plan in place, step by step, to make sure students are safe,” Brantley said. “I feel very confident about our security measures.”

There are sixteen security cameras throughout the school’s campus that are connected to a monitor in the office, Brantley said. The school is also equipped with an intercom system that lets teachers know of an emergency.

Stephanie Jackson, a first-year principal at Rachel Patterson Elementary, said her school has similar measures in place, but she would like to see the addition of more security monitors and a buzzer system on the front door.

“I was filled with pure horror and disbelief,” Jackson said of Friday’s events. “I did shed quite a few tears.”

The school that houses students in kindergarten through second grade is equipped with a system of blinders in the classroom that darken the windows. In addition teachers are told to turn out the lights and lock classroom doors during lockdown procedures and drills, Jackson said.

Huxford Elementary principal Greg Shehan said he too is confident in the safety procedures the school has in place. All the doors on campus remain locked, except for the front door and all visitors must first sign in at the office.

“Visitors have to come in through the front door,” he said. “I view every person that comes in the school.”

The school has plans in place for all types of emergencies from severe weather and fires to hostage situations, he said.
“Our county is adamant about security,” Shehan said.

In addition to monthly fire drills and quarterly severe weather drills, each school performs drills for lockdown procedures.

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