Leon County school administrators have training exercises to prepare for emergencies

By: Lanetra Bennett I Eyewitness News
August 7, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tallahassee resident Terry Jones says safety is always on her mind as she thinks about her son starting school.

"I'm not sure that everything is okay. But I have to just trust that they are trying their best with what they have."

Wednesday, Leon County school administrators from across the district participated in exercises to prepare in the event of a crisis.

"Knowledge is going to be powerful in there comes an event." Superintendent Rocky Hanna said during the tabletop training event.

The training was held at Lincoln High School.

Safety coordinators say the primary focus is learning how to respond to an emergency and who to notify.

Ray Foster has two school-aged grandchildren.

"I'm pleased that people are paying attention to this and preparing our teachers and our students on what to do in these unfortunate events I hope we will never see here." He said.

School superintendent Hanna says staff will know how to relay the proper information to students, even the younger ones.

Tallahassee resident Ashley Guy remembers doing drills as a teacher out of state.

"As much as it helped us to prepare for whatever situation, it also upset all of the students and it upset many of the teachers and myself. Just to have to think of that and plan that, it was very upsetting." She said.

"It's a hard subject to talk about, but it's of vital importance. Heaven forbid anything like that every happen to our community. If someone wants to cause harm, we need to know how to respond, and more importantly, our children need to know how to respond." Superintendent Hanna said.

Leon County Schools have armed law enforcement on every school campus--not armed teachers or personnel. There will be 50 unarmed personnel to monitor school grounds, and Superintendent Hanna says schools are doing more on mental health.

Jimmy Williams, the Leon County Schools Safety and Security Coordinator, says, "We've been planning for the last six weeks. It's just happenstance that the events in Texas and Ohio took place. But it just reminds us all that what we're here for is a very important mission; and we take it seriously."

"When I started my career 30 years ago, I have to admit, that if you would've told me that on pre-planning week, we'd have a discussion on active shooter training. I would've said you're crazy. But unfortunately, that's the new normal now. Given the events that happened in schools and like we saw this past weekend in El Paso, it's our new normal." Superintendent Hanna said.

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