JDCSD conducts active shooter drills on all campuses

Published 3:56 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

The Jefferson Davis County School District recently participated in an active shooter drill at each of its campuses. JDCSD Chief of Police Anthony Sims partnered with local agencies, including Emergency Management, law enforcement officials, fire departments and the JDC hospital to conduct the drills mandated through the Mississippi Department of Education.

The group conducted tabletop exercises before and after the drills to discuss what was observed and what could be improved upon and added to the school safety crisis plan.

“One of the places I see we could improve on is communication,” said Chief Sims. “Communication between the school district and the outside agencies.”

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Each employee in the school district has a crisis badge with a button. If a button is pressed in a certain sequence, the campus automatically goes into lockdown. Teachers are alerted an emergency situation has been indicated by flashing red lights in each classroom, hallway and outside the campus.

Sims had a non-district employee pose as an AC repairman and enter the campuses.

“The middle school did an excellent job as well as Carver intercepting him pretty quickly and escorting him personally back to the office,” Sims said.

He noted J. E. Johnson has the best set-up of any campus because they do not have outside classrooms and do not go outside to change classes like the high school and middle school.

He said one important thing he realized was that faculty and staff, including substitutes, must receive the proper crisis training as the district is constantly hiring new teachers.

“I am thankful to have the support of the school board and superintendent and to be able to partner with local agencies to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” said Sims.

The MDE requires that active shooter drills be implemented within the first 60 days of each semester, however, the district can conduct more than the two required if it desires.

“In the future we hope to include Prentiss Christian School into the drills and collaborate with them as their students attend classes at the D. W. Fortenberry Career,” said Sims. We want everyone in the county, all schools, to be alert and safe, public or private.”