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School safety assessed in NASD

NATCHEZ — Law enforcement agencies will be visiting schools throughout the Natchez-Adams School District this morning to assess each school’s emergency response plans.

NASD safety and security supervisor Ray Brown said the purpose of the visits are to get feedback from officials on how each school would handle an emergency situation.

“We want to make sure our schools are safe for our children, and this is an opportunity for those folks to come in, look at our sites and help us improve,” Brown said. “We’re trying to be as proactive as possible and see if there’s anything we need to improve before any actual emergency situation arises.”

Natchez Police Department officers, Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Natchez Fire Department firefighters and others will meet at 8 a.m. today at the Robert Lewis Magnet School before dispersing in various teams to each school in the district.

The visits, Brown said, are also an opportunity for the officials to become more acquainted with the schools.

“None of our structures are alike in the district, and each one needs to be approached differently for an emergency situation, so I want them to come out and be familiar with each place,” Brown said. “If something happens, all of those agencies will be called upon, so we want them familiar with the schools and our response plans.”

Brown said each school has a separate plan for how to respond to certain emergency situations.

Those plans need to be practiced by the students frequently, but should also be shared with the emergency officials who will respond to any situations, Brown said.

“This is all about being proactive, so if something does happen there’s not that feeling of, ‘What do we do, what do we do?’” Brown said. “With so many things happening across the country, we have to prepare for every situation.”

Residents, students and parents, Brown said, should not be alarmed if they see law enforcement personnel today at a school in the district.

“We don’t want anyone thinking something is going on — this is just us being proactive,” Brown said. “We want the public to know that we’re doing everything we can to make the children feel safe at school and for the parents to know that their children are safe at school.”