Law enforcement, schools diligent in safety preparations

By John Peters

October 25, 2013

Wednesday morning students, teachers, and other staff members at Franklin Elementary School found themselves under lockdown — rooms shuttered, teachers giving them instructions on how to be quiet and hide, waiting for law enforcement to reach them and give them the “all is safe” signal.

Thankfully this was simply a drill, coordinated between the Surry County Sheriff’s Office, the school system, and several other agencies.

The growing list of violent school attacks is at once heartbreaking and appalling, with two more schools added to that solemn tally this week — Danvers High School in Danvers, Mass, and Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev. A teacher was killed at each school, and two students were wounded at Sparks.

Like every newspaper in the nation, we earnestly hope this is a story we never have to cover on a local basis — we hope no paper anywhere has to cover another story like this. However, no community is immune to that possibility.

While most community school systems have some level of plan in place should such an awful event happen, we suspect there are few who are better prepared than our local school systems and law enforcement agencies.

The sheriff’s office, in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies in the region, as well as the school systems, has planned and drilled and practiced the various scenarios that might come up.

While all in the community hope that preparation is never put to a test, it is good to know that local officials are committed to being ready should the unthinkable happen.