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Wake schools reflect on safety plans after Ohio tragedy

Posted February 28, 2012
Updated February 29, 2012

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— In the wake of a deadly school shooting in Ohio, Wake County schools are reflecting on the importance of their safety protocol.

Russ Smith, senior director of security for the Wake County Public School System, said all schools in the county have emergency plans in place to try to block threats and help minimize damage.

"Emergencies are going to happen in our schools," Smith said. "We prepare for when that time will come."

Last year, nearly 350 weapons were found on Wake County school grounds. Some were small, low-risk items, such as nail files, but Smith said a handful of guns were also found.

In the case of a gunman on campus, Smith said, schools go into lockdown.

That means all doors are locked, students take cover and color-coded cards are put up in windows to tell emergency responders where the danger is. Each room is equipped with a red bag containing emergency supplies, such as bandages and flashlights.

"Teachers have what they need in an emergency situation," Smith said.

A second emergency kit – a black box – is stored in the school's main office, he said. It contains tools – a building master key, floor plans and schedules for students – that help give police officers an advantage over a school shooter. 

But an emergency plan can't be effective without continued practicing, Smith said. Last year, 15 agencies participated in a large drill that simulated a school shooting to test emergency response. Russ Smith Wake schools safety director explains emergency plan

Those drills help keep students safe, he said.

"Parents want their kids to be safe," Smith said. "I have kids in the system. I want to make sure they are safe."

12 Comments

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  • wakemom Feb 29, 2012

    "...there needs to be more presence of law enforcements on school campuses at all time."

    Brilliant. Let's turn every school into an armed camp with metal detectors at every door, armed guards at every gate and fully armed gun towers. Do you people ever think before writing such garbage?
    genralwayne

    okay so lets wait until something happens and then we make a plan of action. yeah we will think like you!

  • Tcheuchter Feb 29, 2012

    "Thanks for letting everyone know where to find the master key in case of an emergency. Especially the bad guys."

    I did think that was a dumb thing to show......

  • Tcheuchter Feb 29, 2012

    "The Wake county school systems Lockdown procedure is a "JOKE" you can walk into any school right now and most of the doors are unlocked."

    Reality is that you cannot make schools a fortress. Even the Military cannot make a base 100% safe. Whilst any shooting like this is a tragedy there are about 20,000 high schools in the US so the odds of any single school being involved are low.
    Even if the school could stop incidents like this its likely it would only divert the problem to a another location like a mall or Restaurant.

  • genralwayne Feb 29, 2012

    "...there needs to be more presence of law enforcements on school campuses at all time."

    Brilliant. Let's turn every school into an armed camp with metal detectors at every door, armed guards at every gate and fully armed gun towers. Do you people ever think before writing such garbage?

  • cwood3 Feb 29, 2012

    GOOD!!

  • applesmith Feb 29, 2012

    The Wake county school systems Lockdown procedure is a "JOKE" you can walk into any school right now and most of the doors are unlocked. From first hand knowledge most of the schools at most practice lockdown drills 2 times a year, But they get them fire drills done every month. When I asked the administration at the school why they did not do moore lockdown drills I was advised that it would upset the school body and parents. The particular school in question is Durant middle. Then under the leadership of then Ian Solomon who now is at Peace Coll.in Raleigh. The Politics of Wake County Schools is and will get its students hurt. It Just a matter of time. A BIG Thanks to the Wake county Sheriffs office SRO's for being in the schools. But they at times do have the support they need from the agency they work for as well as The county.ALL ABOUT POLITICS AND PERCEPTION

  • wakemom Feb 29, 2012

    i asked my daughter about saftely plans at her school in case of emergency as this one. she said they just have to stay down on the floor and not move. she also mentioned that there is no metal detectives in the school. my other concern is kids being allowed to come on and off campus for lunch. you dont know what they are bringing back to them on campus especially if they attend a large school. and as for security on campus no offense but they are usually older people that cant protect anyone. there needs to be more presence of law enforcements on school campuses at all time.

  • NCMom1 Feb 29, 2012

    d915byrd

    Any administrator has a master key.

  • dmccall Feb 29, 2012

    Safety plan:
    1. In-School-Suspension and public shame for bullies while telling their mommies to shut up, yes, your little Johnny IS a jerrrrkkk.
    2. The mentally ill should not be fully free in our society without mandatory treatment. It isn't fair to them, and it isn't fair to us.

  • Bill of Rights Feb 29, 2012

    Schedules for students help the police gain an advantage over a school shooter? "Quick, officer, down this hall - I think I see him! Oh, wait. Can you look up where grade 10 chemistry is? I need to look up where sodium is on the periodic table first."

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