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Schools evaluate safety plans in wake of Florida mass shooting

Education officials have been reevaluating their plans for security this week after a school shooting in Broward County, Fla., left 17 dead.

Escambia County Schools Superintendent John Knott said his system is just like everyone else has been working to see if there are better ways to protect students.

In addition to having school resource officers in the different areas, he said he has been working with area law enforcement to up school security.

“We just like everyone else are just devastated over the shooting,” he said. “What we have done, we have talked to and all of our schools are revisiting our safety plans. Meeting with staff to go over routines and procedures that are in place. We have met with local law enforcement.”

Knott said there has been more law enforcement presence on the campuses.

“They are doing more things like visiting the schools and monitoring the parking lots,” he said. “The sheriff’s office has really stepped up to the plate. They have officers on campus during our lunches.”

Knott said there are talks of doing collaborative training among teachers and law enforcement.

“We have a renewed commitment that our protocols are emphasized,” he said. “It’s a scary time, and it’s a sad state that we have to be so concerned at a school level.”

Brewton City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Varner said the city of Brewton provides certified police officers as resource officers.

“We are always in a constant state of assessment,” he said. “It’s terrifying when you think of the evil in the world. Our schools aren’t designed to be a fortress. We do what we can to protect them, but they still go to the playground or to the ballgame. At the ballgames, we have not way of screening. It’s scary to think of. The night of the shooting, I started typing out some notes on the things we do on safety. When you start looking at what we do, we do a tremendous amount.”