Safety a long time practice at Cairo schools
CAIRO, IL (KFVS) - Safety has long been in practice at Cairo schools and now, school leaders consider adding even more precautions.
Metal detectors, backpack searches, buzzers and locks on doors have been routine for Cairo high school students for years now. Principal Zena Madison says they were implemented sometime after the Columbine shooting.
"We have a security guard in the building," said Zena Madison, Cairo High School Principal. "He checks the doors every hour."
Students say the metal detectors make them feel safer.
"They keep us safe," said Jocelyn Coleman, a senior. "Every school needs them now because a lot of things are happening to children that shouldn't."
After Fridays mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, the principals ordered another round of security drills and started looking at ways to make the building even safer.
"You can't put a price on life and we are all vulnerable," said Madison. "It could happen anywhere," said Madison.
At the high school, they repositioned surveillance cameras and they are considering tougher glass on windows.
You will also find cameras at the elementary school. Meanwhile we discovered Code Red Intruder Drills are just as familiar to students as disaster drills. They already perform them regularly just as they do fire, tornado, and earthquake drills.
"You get down cover your face," explained Donald Allen, an elementary student. "You have to be real quiet and we lock the door."
"We know they are important so you can protect yourself and protect the people around you," said Aeris Jackson, elementary student.
"It makes me secure to know these children know exactly what they are supposed to do," said Dorice O'Shae, Kindergarten teacher. "I came in Monday morning and I discussed with the kids the fact that we are going to do what we need to do in order to be safe so they don't have to worry. I would jump in front of a bullet for my students and I know every teacher in this building would do the same."
Students say they feel safe and know how to perform the drills, right down to the youngest boys and girls.
Administrators and teachers say the shooting drove home just how important extra practice is.
"We had teachers do drills on Monday and Tuesday," said Rose Gayle-Pickett, elementary Principal. "You don't want to make the kids nervous or anxious of course, but we did talk to them about what to do in case of an emergency. We are going to be prepared."
Parents say they are thankful there's never been a major incident in Cairo, and they are happy to see schools working to keep it that way.
"I think you practice, practice, practice and talk about what has happened," said Michelle Jackson, parent of four. "All the children came home saying they knew what to do even my three year old."
Administrators say they'll continue to re-evaluate procedures and look for feedback in order to maintain safety.
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