National News

New safety changes coming to classrooms before first day of school

Posted July 21, 2018 12:12 p.m. EDT

— School will be back in session in two weeks for some Middle Tennessee students, and safety is top concern for parents after school shootings earlier this year.

Some districts across the region are adding school resource officers or changing how people report threats. Safety officials said it's important for them to keep adapting their plans since every school shooting brings forward new concerns.

"It's horrible to think that a law enforcement officer is going to pass an injured child or you if you're injured but that's not their priority. Their priority is to stop that threat," said Jimmy Wheeler, the security executive director for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Wheeler said district workers are going through classrooms to find any weak spots as part of a new school security assessment for the state.

"We also had to send copies of the drills from each one of our locations," said Wheeler. "I like to say my friends in small counties spent a weekend, but with 155 locations, we're still in the process of collecting this data."

In Williamson County changes are in the works, which include bracing windows and more.

"We're making plans to make entry points in to the buildings identifiable to police officers where the response would be quicker if needed," said Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long.

In Wilson County there is a new online way to anonymously report school threats, using the website

"So we're hoping that since we're filtering those threats through the sheriff's office, we actually put in there that (with) any false threats, you could be charged for that," said Lt. Scott Moore, who oversees the school resource officers at the Wilson County Sheriff's Office.

Moore said the county is also starting a safety committee with teachers and parents on Thursday, July 26 at 5:30pm at the Wilson County Sheriff's Office.

"I think it's important to get their input on maybe some of the things they're seeing that maybe we're not seeing," said Moore.

In the required state assessment, Moore said schools even looked at how easy it could be for an intruder to hide in a tree. Once the districts turn in the assessment for the upcoming school year, $30 million in grant money could go to schools for any security needs.