Wake County Schools

Following California shooting, Wake school officials say they're prepared for emergencies

Posted November 15, 2017 10:34 p.m. EST

— Quick-thinking school officials at a small California school have many parents thinking about security measures at North Carolina schools, where emergency drills are only part of the precautions in place.

Johnston County Schools are required to conduct a lockdown drill every three to four months. In Wake County, non-weather related emergency drills are also a primary issue at schools.

“The safety of our students is our number one priority,” said Wake County Public School System security director Russ Smith. “We do have training in place for protective actions for different types of emergencies.”

For security reasons, Smith can’t give specific details, but confirmed every Wake County school must have an emergency operation plan and complete at least two emergency lockdown drills during the school year.

In a deadly shooting Tuesday in California, school leaders are credited with protecting the children and keeping the suspected shooter out of the school.

With that event in mind, Wake County parents said they trust their school leaders.

“I feel very at ease,” said parent Carter Elmore. “I think they’d be able to carry it through exactly what happened in California, lockdown and take care of business and definitely protect the kids.”

With almost 160,000 students to keep safe, Wake County schools continue to review and update their security plans.

“It’s really concerning to see my 12 and 14 year olds seeing this on the news and how to explain it and to know they are safe at school and they have these drills and they have a plan of action if something does come up,” said parent Dawn Nisbet-Stanton.

Smith says that in the past decade, Wake County schools have put emphasis on training and emergency preparedness, but has only had to have a lockdown for emergency issues happening near a school, not inside.