Shelby County school leaders look at new safety measures - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Shelby County school leaders look at new safety measures

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© Shelby County Schools spokesperson Cindy Warner. (abc3340.com) © Shelby County Schools spokesperson Cindy Warner. (abc3340.com)
SHELBY COUNTY - AL -

Long before Sims even made it on campus, Shelby County schools were working on a plan to increase school safety - and they believe it was part of that plan that protected teachers and students during Tuesday's standoff.

They're talking about construction projects, moving front office locations, decreasing the amount of doors to get in, and adding new locks. But there are other policy changes put in place after the Sandy Hook shooting, and Thursday school administrators say, it was those procedures that may have saved lives at Chelsea Middle.

The past 24 hours have been filled with questions on school security. After the shootings at Sandy Hook, Shelby County schools pulled out the plans to each of its 40 campuses.

"Architects went and visited on site and really started trying to look at - do we need to reconfigure how these front office setups are?" Cindy Warner, Shelby Co. Schools Spokesperson said.

"We have worked with our architects for the past 14 days and looked at the entrances," Superintendent Randy Fuller said during Tuesday night's meeting. "He has drawn plans and in fact, one of the first areas is Chelsea Middle School."

But not all the changes planned are physical. Many are procedures -recently added. In fact, the safety team at Chelsea Middle had reviewed plans for "unusual circumstances" just the day before.

"The fact that we had intensified those efforts, really was part of why yesterdays events at Chelsea Middle School ended up not being more tragic," Warner said.

What happened Wednesday, certainly fell in the "unusual circumstances" category.  In fact, Sims was a very familiar presence at Chelsea - even following procedure. 

"He had been to the front office so it wasn't like he came in and took every body by surprise," Warner said.

"Comments I've been hearing today from parents who were in the car rider line yesterday, was we saw our kids standing there one minute, and the next minute we looked up and they were gone," Warner said. "And it's because they knew the minute they heard the code warning that they were to get back inside the building."



 

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