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Jeff Davis to add security at schools – American Press | #schoolsaftey

More security and safety measures are coming soon to Jeff Davis Parish schools.

Superintendent John Hall said the measures are designed to ensure the safety of students and school staff.

“Our focus has always been on increasing school safety,” Hall said. “As the new school year approaches, many of those initiatives are now in place as part of our school safety plan.”

Crews worked behind-the-scenes throughout the summer to complete many of the security and safety enhancements. The upgrades and installations will continue into the new school year as more funds and supplies become available.

The biggest safety upgrades have focused on controlling access to school campuses.

The school district was recently awarded over $500,000 from the Stronger Connections grant to help the district establish safe, healthy and supportive learning environments for students.

The parish plans to use the money to create safety vestibules in which visitors must be granted clearance before passing through a locked door. Other projects will include installing perimeter fencing, establishing single entry points and providing weapon detectors at all schools.

“We are currently having safety vestibules being built at the front entrances of Jennings High School and Fenton Elementary School.” Hall said.

Hall has also been meeting with school board members from the Welsh areas to discuss safety improvements at Welsh Elementary, Welsh High and Welsh-Roanoke Jr. High schools. Those plans include single point of entry vestibules at the front entrance of each school.

School officials have also been surveying the new James Ward Center for Excellence located in the old James Ward Elementary School on Shankland Avenue in Jennings to discuss plans to create a safe campus with a single point of entry and a secure perimeter around the school.

“We will be focusing on many other schools in our parish that have not yet begun a process of planning a single point of entry layout,” Hall said.

School officials are also working to provide weapon detectors at each school’s single point of entry and gyms with the flexibility for use at outdoor sports functions.

“Creating a single point of entry, detectors at those entrances, with proper fencing is one step in our long term plan to make safety a top priority,” Hall said.

A local School Safety Task Force, chaired by District Attorney Lauren Heinen, has been formed and will continue to meet monthly.

“This is a committee of our Jeff Davis Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, school resource officers and school administrators who meet to promote safety and collaboration in our schools,” Hall said.

Training will continue to be a part of the new security and safety upgrades.

Open Gate Security Systems will provide in-service training this week for all school resource officers and school administrators. The training will focus on single point of entry designs, procedures and policies for the schools.

All parish administrators and supervisors will undergo additional training by the Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office. District leaders and all school administrative staff will also attend specialized training by the LSU National Center for Biomedical Research and Training and Academy of Counter-Terrorist education before school starts.

“All school crisis plans will be reviewed by school leaders and law enforcement officials and a crisis planning schedule will be developed for each school to provide hands-on training to all school staff throughout the year,” Hall said.

He stressed that the crisis plans will be revised frequently as more changes are made and new plans developed to keep schools safe.

Several school district personnel recently attended a School Safety Summit sponsored by the Louisiana State Police And Louisiana Department of Education.

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