In light of the Newtown shooting, Bibb County schools and surrounding counties are taking a closer look at security measures and emergency plans.
13WMAZ's Judy Le talked to nearly a dozen school districts about current building security measures and improvements some plan to make.
The message from all the superintendents she received was universal -- to make sure students are safe. In Crawford County, drills will be postponed to lighten the stress among students and staff. In Bleckley, there was an emphasis on locked doors and in Monroe, reminders were sent to check I.D. badges.
Three months ago, the Bibb County school district reached out to Save Havens International, a Juliette-based organization, to comb through security policies.
Director of Risk Management, David Gowan, says improvements will be implemented by the new year. The biggest change will be a new emergency response plan.
"I referenced Code Red, Code Yellow, Code Green, Code Blue. We are going to go to plain language in the new plan. Also these new administrative directives, those deal with controlling students, purposely controlling access into the schools and managing space. We've never had those elements in the current plan. Those will be added. Those administrative directives will not only be issued but they're going to be enforced," says Gowan.
Bibb schools already conduct monthly fire drills and two severe weather drills in November and February of each year but Gowan says there's about to be more.
"We will be adding some additional drills such as reverse evacuation. We already do evacuation drills. We go a thousand feet for bomb threats or natural gas leaks. We would go 350 feet for a fire drill," he says.
It all comes down to preparation. Michael Dorn, the executive director of Safe Havens International says Bibb County schools are going through a video training system.
Staff go through different crisis simulations and have to respond accordingly.
"That what they do in the first 30 seconds in a crisis is extremely important. We also want to empower our staff. So if we have a custodian or a food service employee for instance that actually see a fire in the building, we want them to feel empowered to pull that fire alarm themselves," says Gowan.
The idea is to expose the staff to different emergency scenarios so that if an actual crisis happens, they'll have experience in handling it.
Bibb County schools released a statement saying they're reminding principals to review school safety measures.
They include limiting access to the schools, locking off-limits parts of school, and increasing supervision of students during the school day.
They say on Tuesday principals are also expected to meet with staff to review the current safety levels codes green, blue, yellow, and red.