MEMPHIS, TN – Training to stop a monster; and keeping Mid-South kids safe from potential school shooters.
When 26 people, including 20 first graders, were murdered by a gunman in Connecticut—many people wondered, could that happen at my child’s school?
The Memphis City Schools system is taking steps to make sure it doesn’t.
School safety experts from Florida say MCS has been proactive in terms of safety. Those experts were in the Bluff City on Monday December 17, 2012 conducting security training for school resource officers.
Ironically, the training was scheduled months ago, but its timing could not have been better.
“We’ve been here before, training in Memphis,” said Lt. Tim Enos, “they’re very progressive in training for their school safety officers and I give them kudos for that.”
Enos works with the School Safety Advocacy Council.
In the wake of the Connecticut school massacre, there could be no sweeter words for the parents of Memphis students.
“Safety is our number one concern,” said John Best, “and those children are like our prized possessions.”
Best is a school resource officer for MCS.
In his seminars, Enos stresses planning, education and communication; he also stresses being unpredictable.
“We talk about being systematically, unsystematic.” Enos said.
“Like if I walk down hallway “A” everyday,” said Best, “you might need to think about going down hallway “B”.”
To put it in equation form: possible scenarios over precautions, equals positive outcomes.
“Our incidents have dropped tremendously from this type of training.” Best told abc24.com.
Enos said the best thing a school district can do is have a plan in place for any type of critical incident.
MCS has evacuation layouts posted on its walls.
“We have an evacuation plan that we go over,” Best said, “and check with principals and supervisors.”
All of that—and more—is necessary, because as President Obama said while speaking in Connecticut: “We can’t tolerate this anymore.”
“It is just an unimaginable, horrific tragedy.” Enos told abc24.com.
But, thanks to ongoing security training, hopefully it won’t happen in Memphis.
“We really want to soak up this information,” Best told abc24.com, “and the information from the first session has been awesome.”
Best also said MCS students “get it” and know safety drills are serious business.