Bossier schools locked doors, closed windows, and practiced what they would do if an emergency threatened their hallways as part of a school crisis drill Tuesday.
"Coaches in the gym, we will initiate lock down for our drill at this time," came the announcement that over the speakers in all Bossier Parish public schools during the exercise, which is done every three months.
"You'll notice that if you walk in during a lock down drill that it's extremely quiet. I don't think that you were probably able to hear a peep out of any of the students out of any of the classrooms and that is part of the protocol, absolute silence," says Bossier Parish Schools spokesperson Sonja Bailes.
Once teachers determine their class is safe, they push green signs under the door to notify administration and officers in the hallway that their classes are safe. "We have to stay on top of safety. Safety is our number one priority in our schools, because without a safe learning environment you can't learn," Bailes says.
In addition to the drills, Bossier has several lines of prevention in place. "Back in 2009, Bossier schools was one of two districts in the state to receive a $460,000 grant to better prepare our schools for any type of emergency," says Bailes. "This was for school security. We were able to put 2-way radios in all of our schools that our principals have, and others have as well. It bypasses the dispatchers and goes directly to the police department. Also it enabled us to be able to put video cameras throughout all of our schools. We have a detailed mapping system in all of our schools to where our administrators can pull up all hallways and various areas of the school to monitor what's going on and that is also tied in directly with the police and sheriff's departments."
Plus, Bailes says they have SROs, School Resource Officers, in all of the middle and high schools, and have for years. They also have off-duty Bossier sheriff's officers on a rotational basis on the elementary schools.
"We are expanding that SRO program as we speak. We are working closely with the Bossier sheriff to be able to place an SRO in all of our elementary schools. Once funding becomes available from tax revenues in 2015 and 1016, it will be in increments that the SROs are implemented in the elementary schools," Bailes says.
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