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School security safety protocols in place, Alachua official says

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Mary Beriau, instructional vice president of the Alachua County Education Association said she believes the county has done a good job in setting up safety protocols for the county’s schools.

“I do know that [school officials] ask that visitors that are on-campus check-in, and that they notify staff that they’re there. In my experience — since I get to visit a lot of schools — staff are very aware when someone’s on campus and they’re not supposed to be there. They do tend to stand out.”

As a former high school teacher, Beriau believes that the county is well prepared to train teachers and staff how to carry out the protocol.

“I’m pretty comfortable that the school system is doing what it needs to do to develop the plans and the protocols. It is a little scary that this can happen but this can happen anywhere.”

Beriau says that should something similar to this morning’s incident in Connecticut occur in Alachua County, there are certain procedures teachers and staff take to keep them and their students safe.

Alachua County teachers and staff are trained not only on how to carry out the procedures, but also in how to do their best to handle the children in scary situations.

“The immediate reaction would be a school lockdown. As soon as any kind of issue happens, all of our schools are in a position to have a lockdown in place. That means the teachers are told over the intercom that the school is in lockdown mode. You’re to go to your classroom door and lock it immediately. You’re to take the children away immediately from any windows or doors, and get them out of sight.”

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