As flags remain at half staff following Uvalde, School Board takes student safety seriously

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Carolyn Roy | News Editor
“What I take more sacred than anything in doing this job is ensuring the safety of other people’s children,” Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi told the school board during his report at a committee meeting Tuesday. He mentioned the building’s flag was still at half-mast in tribute to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. He said it was “a tragedy that shook all of us.”
While the Uvalde tragedy pointed to the immediate danger, Eloi said the Sheriff’s Office conducted a parish-wide training in January. The best safety measures are pragmatic school leaders such as principals and school resource officers who are trained and protect their school by emphasizing locking doors

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He gave key points that the school system has undertaken to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff.
•The key system has been updated at all schools with locks that had multiple keys being rekeyed.
•There is a pilot program at a few schools in which a key pass system is used during lockdowns.
•All schools will have a no-buzzer entrance when school starts in the fall.
•There has been local review of the crisis management plan.
•Experts at LSU will review the crisis plan and changes will be made if needed.
•Eloi is meeting with local law enforcement to review not only active shooter protocol but also that for natural disasters.
•He is seeking a Dept. of Justice grant to fund new technology. Some technology uses facial recognition while others can detect if a person is carrying a weapon by how their clothing looks.
He praised Sheriff Stuart Wright and Police Chief Nikeo Collins for their cooperation and was to meet them Wednesday to see if they are ways to strengthen their relationship with the school board.
At a meeting with State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley, there was an expert in school safety to talk about ways to train but not traumatize students and the community. As an example, shooter training scenarios are not conducted with students in the building although law enforcement can train at schools during the summer and on holidays. Eloi said lockdown training is sufficient when students are present.
Supervisor of Maintenance Ryan Shirley said even before the shooting in Uvalde, he had conducted a survey of lock maintenance.