Heard Co. Sheriff's Department & Franklin Police Department

Heard County School System Continues to Make Student Safety a Priority

At a time when there is ever increasing media attention surrounding mass shootings in the United States, the Heard County School System wants to remind students, parents, and the entire community that it will continue to stay vigilant and maintain its current practices and policies as they relate to this issue. This includes reviewing and reinforcing its current multifaceted approach of teacher education on protocols and best practices, working directly with law enforcement, and the implementation of lockdown drills and systems that can best protect the children of Heard County. “We believe returning a child safely to their family at the end of each school day is a sacred responsibility,” stated Heard County School Superintendent Rodney Kay. “We take this responsibility seriously and will use the resources at our disposal to make our schools safe.” 

From the time school leaders and teachers returned from summer break, they were inundated with new protocols and refreshers on the policies and procedures that the school system has put in place to protect students. Heard County Associate Superintendent Mike Roberts initially made this a point of emphasis when he welcomed school-level leadership teams to a leadership retreat held at the Heard County GPAC on July 20. “Over time, we have learned valuable insights into how to best protect our students, and we passed that information on to our staff in the form of professional learning and required protocols,” said Roberts.

Local law enforcement has equally been focused on making sure they and the local schools are best prepared in the event of an active shooter. Recently, the Franklin Police Department and the Heard County Sheriff's Department trained at Heard County Elementary School to refresh all officers on an active shooter response. “We wanted to make sure everyone is familiar with how to react in the event of an active shooter, as well as being familiar with the school layout and the protocols that should be in place at every school,” claimed Heard County School Resource Officer Cain Dean. “I think it is also safe to say that there will be a greater law enforcement presence at every school in Heard County during the upcoming school year.”

With the help of local law enforcement, the Heard County School System plans to be vigilant in keeping all five schools as secure as possible by utilizing best practices to keep students safe. Educating teachers on key security protocols, empowering administrators to enforce student safety policies, and practicing scenarios with students through regular active shooter drills will put the Heard County School System in the best position to keep students safe. “If we can continue to be proactive in protecting our students, then we can hopefully avoid the tragedies that have become all too common,” added Kay. “The wellbeing of our students will always be our top priority.”