MPS enhancing school security in wake of mass shootings
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas has renewed questions about school security at districts across the United States, including in Montgomery.
The news of 19 children and two teachers being gunned down at Robb Elementary School has shaken the nation to its core, especially for people like Selena Cutts-Day, whose job is to protect students at school.
“Being in law enforcement for 26 years, it’s always a sad occasion to see that it’s continuing to occur,” said Cutts-Day, assistant chief of security for Montgomery Public Schools.
Safety has always been a top priority for MPS, and the district promises to make improvements where necessary to mitigate potential risks.
The school system’s security team has recently met to discuss ways to enhance safety. Some of the security enhancements taking place around the district are:
- School hardening, which includes the installation of vestibule and electronic door access
- Increased usage of metal detectors
- Continued use of visitor management system/background checks
- Emergency alert notification
- Additional surveillance cameras
- Safety training for teachers
- Other safety and security strategies that remain confidential
MPS has a long-standing partnership with law enforcement agencies and works closely with them in preparation, prevention and response efforts. MPS also has a strong collaboration with student support, mental health and behavior support departments.
“Every school that we have has emergency procedures that are in place, and we share those with our law enforcement partners in addition to providing them with key access and access to our cameras so that there will be no delays in their responding to our schools if needed,” Cutts-Day said.
The school system does, however, need support from the community. MPS encourages parents to monitor their children’s activity online and to check their bookbags.
“We encourage our parents to speak with our kids. Actively monitor their social media activity or online activity. We do have the capability of monitoring activity on school issued devices, but we do need that added support. We also encourage our parents to check their students bookbags to ensure that they know what their kids are bringing to school,” Cutts-Day said.
In an active shooter situation, Cutts-Day said a school goes on immediate lockdown. All of school staff and students participate in drills regularly to ensure that they are prepared for emergencies.
Not all classroom doors, however, can be locked from the inside. The school system hopes to make upgrades to the locks once they start to receive funding from the ad valorem tax increase in 2023.
MPS takes all threats seriously and encourages everyone that “if you see something, say something.”
Ways to report suspicious activity:
- MPS security anonymous tip reporting
- Central Alabama CrimeStoppers
- Contacting the Mont0gmeyr Police Department or the sheriff’s office
- Directly reporting to school staff or any member of the security team
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