School Resource Officers The district has a contract with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) to provide eight school resource officers (SROs), a school detective and three Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)/SROs to serve the schools. The SROs are based at eight campuses that serve both middle and high school students and support the elementary schools that feed into their home school. In addition to policing school campuses, these officers focus on educating students and staff on safety issues.
WCS updates its district and school emergency operations plans annually. After approval by school district safety officials, the plans are reviewed and approved by:
- Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency
- Whitfield County Sheriff's Office
- Whitfield County Fire Department
- Whitfield County Juvenile Court
- Hamilton Emergency Medical Service
- Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA).
The plans defines staff member roles and responsibilities during an emergency to guide staff and public safety partners to respond swiftly during a crisis situation.
Reunification Plan reviewed and updated annually. Reunification plans are constantly in review to ensure that, in the event of an emergency, students can be evacuated to a safe location off-campus to reunite with their families.
National Incident Management System (NIMS) District personnel are trained to use the same emergency response protocols developed by the Department of Homeland Security for emergency responders across the country.
Every school conducts emergency drills throughout the year so that students and staff are aware of the most effective and safe emergency responses. In addition to monthly fire and weather drills, the state requires one secure lockdown drill every year. Safety directors in Whitfield County Schools choose to do at least two secure lockdown drills annually.
Students take an active role by following rules and reporting those who are not following rules or concerns they have.
The district works with community partners— local law enforcement, the juvenile justice system, and emergency-response agencies— to ensure our schools are safe places to teach and to learn. The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office has held active shooter drills at district facilities. District staff were there to learn how police and emergency responders react and respond to armed intruders in a school.
Video camera systems help staff record and monitor security in most school areas.
Weather radios Each school is equipped with a NOAA weather alert radio which sounds a warning in the event of severe weather or community emergencies.
Crisis Team A team of counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists respond to crises affecting students and staff members as needed. Open communication between students and school staff is the key to the safety and security of our schools. Students confiding in trusted adults has done more to avert security threats in schools than nearly any other safety measure.
Employee identification All system employees are required to wear identification badges while in any school facility. We also ask for the cooperation of all visitors to any school campus to go to the school office to sign in and receive a visitors’ badge before going to a classroom or an activity in the building during the school day. This identification process allows for strangers to be readily identifiable to maintain campus security. It also provides the office with an accountability list of persons in the building in case of emergency. Many WCS schools now have electronic visitor sign-in systems that add additional layers of school safety.
Keyless entry Electronic locks and centrally-managed digital key management prevent unwarranted access to buildings.