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the group discussed current school safety plans within the school system and possible improvements. Wilcox commented on the meeting and spoke of its importance. 'We hope we never have the need for anything we discussed today,' said Wilcox. 'But the reality is, you have to be prepared. We also know that what we have is not perfect, but we have the confidence that our students and staff will be safe when they come to school to learn and work.'
One of the most innovative upgrades the school has purchased for school safety is a new crisis alert system, which will give teachers and staff the ability to notify administrators and/or emergency personnel of crisis situations within the building with a push of a button. This button will be installed on each teacher and essential personnel’s badge, which they wear daily.
'With the purchase of the Centegix System, we are making sure that should a crisis situation develop, our teachers and staff have the ability to notify not only the administrators but also other teachers and emergency personnel.' said Wilcox. 'This not only can be used for an active shooter situation, but also for medical emergencies, student altercations, unauthorized visitors, suspicious activity, and similar situations which may occur in our system.”
The school system is also utilizing resources that were already in place to ensure school safety, such as a school resource officer. Currently, because of officer shortages, one officer – Corporal Dwayne Carpenter – divides his time between all four schools, which the school system’s administration says is not ideal. 'Officer Carpenter does a great job,' said Wilcox, 'but he's just one guy, and he can't be everywhere at one time.'
'We are so thankful for and proud of our officers in Vidalia,' said Wilcox. 'We are fully aware of the shortage of Officers that they have, and understand it is a very real problem. So, we are thankful, and so appreciative of all they do not only for us but for our great community.'
Vidalia Police Chief James Jermon commented on the issue. 'We wish we could put more full-time officers in the schools, but we have a shortage of officers on our force. It is difficult to cover the city with the officers we have,' said Jermon. 'But I will make sure that our officers become a presence in each of the schools while on patrol. Not just riding through the parking lots but a presence inside the building. We are committed to doing everything we can to protect the students and faculty of the Vidalia City School System.'
The group says that these plans and resources help to ensure safety for all students within the school. They also plan to meet regularly throughout the year to discuss, update, and improve school safety.