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Doing What it Takes to Keep Schools Safe

Posted Date: 02/28/2023

School administrators and SROs (School Resource Officers) from across Taney County came together along with the representatives from the Taney County Sheriff’s Office, Hollister Police Department, Western Taney County Fire, Taney County Ambulance District, and the City of Hollister to collaborate, share plans, and discuss resources with the goal of doing all they can to keep students and staff of all Taney County Schools safe.

The day began with Hollister Assistant Superintendent of District Operations, Dr. Sean Woods, giving a brief overview of the history of school violence and sharing items that the Hollister School District has implemented and partnerships the district has formed over the past few years to take a proactive approach to school safety.

During the morning, a scenario was presented of a missing student who had yet to arrive home after school. School administrators and the various emergency agencies broke out into groups to discuss how each entity would react to this situation, what their first and next steps would be, what resources they would need, and any challenges or limitations they may face. The groups would then come back together to share.

“The goal of this exercise,” Dr. Woods said, “Is to get everyone talking and sharing ideas. What is something that maybe Forsyth is doing that Hollister is not that could make us better tomorrow than we are today?”

Following the same format as the morning exercise, the afternoon was spent working through an active shooter scenario. “We owe it to our students, to our teachers, our staff, our parents, and our families to do all we can to keep everyone safe and to send them home at the end of each day,” said a passionate Dr. Woods when discussing the adoption of a new emergency alert system. “I would rather have 1,000 false alarms than one tragedy where I hadn’t done everything I could have done to prevent it.”

As the day concluded and final thoughts were shared, two things were clear. One, the students, teachers, staff, and families of Taney County have school administrators, SROs, law enforcement, emergency responders, and government officials who will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. And two, this will not be the last collaboration for this group of individuals.