Could the School Front Office Be the First Line of Safety?

8:22 PM, Aug 22, 2013   |    comments
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Newberry County, SC (WLTX) -- Parents and teachers want safe places for students to learn, but with recent shootings at schools across the country could the school front office be the key to protection?

"If you've got a good level of security at the points of entry then you may thwart the individual until you can get the fully armed police officer that knows how to respond to that, that's trained to respond to that," said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster.

The South Carolina Department of Education says districts are required to develop emergency plans each year, but several say they do not have specialized training just for those employees who work in the front office; workers who could be the first line of defense if someone wanted to cause trouble at a school.

Foster believes training those employees could be beneficial until help arrives. He also says any tool that could protect students and staff is worth exploring.

"Anything that you could put up, if it's a Plexiglas wall, or if it's locks to where you have to buzz people in, sure you need to do that," he said.

Foster says each new situation that threatens a school provides an opportunity to learn and make changes to improve safety. He says when it comes to protecting students, educators and staff the safer the better.

"I kind of equate our schools as a bank. Your bank holds your valuables, our schools hold our most precious valuables and so you need to have higher levels of security especially in the world we live in today,"

The state Department of Education says security features like emergency call button are decisions left to each district to make.

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