Education

Jan 3, 2013 7:10 PM by Erin Steuber

LA Lawmakers Asking: How Safe are Our Schools?

An emotional day in Newtown, CT as students from Sandy Hook Elementary returned to class for the first time in nearly 3 weeks since the tragedy. But in the wake of that tragedy, lawmakers here in Louisiana are gearing up to ask, how safe are schools?

The House Select Committee on Homeland Security will meet in a couple of weeks to review security procedures and crisis prevention. KATC's Erin Steuber found out what they'll discuss later this month, and where improvement might be needed in Acadiana's largest district, Lafayette Parish.

Mona Bernard, the Director of Risk Management for Lafayette Parish Schools, says they need more training. She says a once-a -year drill isn't enough.

"That's our weakness, I think, is actually practicing what we have in place," said Bernard. "That's what saves you, reacting in an appropriate manner when there is a danger."

Schools across the state are required to have a crisis response plan. Each plan is tailored to individual schools. Responsibilities are assigned, evacuation routes are set and if there's an intruder.....

"Whether armed, or not, if someone that looks like they pose a physical danger to our students the announcement would be made that there's an intruder, where the intruder is and to lockdown," said Bernard.

The House Committee on Homeland Security will meet January 17th to discuss campus safety at schools throughout the state. The big question: Can we prevent an intruder?

"This committee is taking an open mind and inviting experts in to ask, what do you do to keep schools safe? What plans are in place? What procedures are in place? How safe do you think these schools are in light of what happened at Sandy Hook, so we know whether there's another step to take, or not, " said House Communications Director, Glen Duncan.

If lawmakers find gaps in school safety plans, new laws could be on the horizon.

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