COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Something new is coming to all South Carolina schools this year — an active shooter and an intruder drill each semester.
The drills are required under a law passed last spring. The guidelines were sent to all South Carolina schools last month.
The school safety law is one of several reforms passed after 17 students and teachers were shot and killed at Parkland High School in Florida by a former student on Feb. 14.
The Jasper County School District said it will hold a safety meeting Friday, Sept. 14 to discuss its plans. The Jasper County Sheriff's Office will work with the school district, sheriff Chris Malphrus said.
Jasper County is also taking other measures to keep students safe. The school district said its head nurse is conducting "Stop the Bleed" training sessions at each school site and kits will be installed soon after training.
Some school districts are going further than the mandatory two drills a semester. Beaufort County Schools are holding three active-shooter drills a year, including one during what they call an “inconvenient time,” like during lunch or as students are going between classes, spokesman Jim Foster told The State newspaper .
Beaufort County high school students are also now required to where their school IDs at all time during the school day, Foster said.
“It does two things: allows the staff at the school to know whether someone is a student, and if a student is unresponsive, emergency responders can easily know the student’s identity,” Foster said.
In Lexington School District 2, officials are augmenting their monthly intruder drills with a key-card entry system for teachers and staff and installing strengthened glass at some schools.
Richland School District 2 is putting school security staff at its schools that don’t have a full-time police officer on campus.
The same law that required the safety drills also set aside $2 million for police officers at schools in poorer districts. Thirty-eight school districts — including Jasper's — were awarded funding to hire new school resource officers as part of a $2 million dollar proviso passed by the General Assembly in this year's budget.
Sheriff Malphrus said the money will help fund an SRO at Jasper County's alternative school.
Proviso 1.105 appropriated $2 million for the purpose of hiring certified law enforcement officers to serve as a school resource officer for school districts that otherwise would lack the adequate resources to hire their own school resource officers, according to the state Department of Education.
With Jasper County Sun Times staff reports.