District working on new emergency plan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 13, 1999

Natchez-Adams County School District officials want to make sure the district is prepared for all emergencies, including school shootings.

The district has been working with the Adams&160;County Youth Court and the Natchez Police Department and other emergency agencies to develop a new emergency plan.

&uot;We want to be as prepared as we can be,&uot; said Natchez Police Chief Willie Huff.

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The school district already has an Emergency Management Plan, but it primarily deals with natural disasters, said Larry Little, assistant school superintendent.

With problems like this year’s school shooting in Colorado, that type of plan is no longer enough.

&uot;These are all extremes but (they’re) something we have to be prepared for to take care of all our children,&uot; said Natchez High School principal Brenda Williams.

A criminal act at a school is different than elsewhere because of the high number of possible victims. &uot;You have such a dense population at the school,&uot; Huff said. &uot;If an incident happened at the (high school) you have to accommodate 1350 kids.&uot;

And this does not include the parents that would rush to the scene during a criminal type of emergency, Huff said.

The district’s Emergency Management Plan is still in the preliminary stage but the school district hopes to have it in place by this school year, Little said. It will cover the entire school district but will also be specialized for each school.

Specialization will take into account location, manpower requirements, places to locate parents, traffic problems and possible evacuation routes, Huff said.

For example, Natchez High School has its own problems because of its open layout.

But the building has several different locations it could use for evacuation points.

&uot;Depending on the situation we will determine where to evacuate to,&uot;&160;Williams said.

The district will be assigning certain emergency-related tasks to specific teachers or principals, Little said. It is also discussing how to best notify all teachers in the event of an emergency.

A good example of this problem is if a class is on the playground and an emergency occurs, Little said.

The Natchez Police Department also wants to help local private schools develop similar plans, Huff said.