Local schools prepare for active shooter situations

By Erin Brookshier - Virginia Today Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Active shooter situations and other emergencies or something that school leaders in our region say they prepare for and practice year round.

The number of school shootings in 2018 is already twice as many as we saw nationwide this time last year. In the first 45 days of this year, there have already been 18 school shootings according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy organization. In 2017 there were a total of 65 school shootings, seven of which happened between January 1 and February 14.

When it comes to emergency preparedness, Roanoke City school leaders say its something they are constantly focusing on. 

“School safety is our No. 1 priority. It has and will always be something the school system evaluates on a constant basis,” reads a statement released by Roanoke City Public Schools Spokesperson Justin McLeod. “Roanoke City Public Schools has worked with Ken Trump for many years. He is a nationally known expert on school security. He developed and has tested many of our security measures. Tragedies, like the one in Florida, are a good reminder that we must work together as a community to keep our children safe.”

Roanoke County school leaders say they do not publicly discuss training, but routinely conduct security drills.

In Bedford County a high-tech security system called COPsynch allows police to respond to an emergency situation in just seconds. The system informs officers of a threat faster than dialing 911. It also sends them floor plans of the schools and which route is recommended in case of an emergency. 

It’s a system other school districts in our region, like Franklin County, have been working to put in place over the past few years as well.

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