Local school officials examine policies after Uvalde tragedy

Published 10:29 am Thursday, July 7, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

The elementary school tragedy in Uvalde, Texas is every educator’s worst nightmare.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Davie County Schools Superintendent Jeff Wallace told board of education members last month.

It’s a heartbreak noone wants to see happen in Davie County, so Wallace and the schools team started reviewing policies, talking through all types of potential situations.

“We try to find out what happened, then what would we have done,” he said of any tragedy that happens at a school.

Since the Texas incident, school officials have met with the sheriff, chief deputy and school resource officers. They’ve talked to the maintenance staffs and administrators. They’ve talked to NC Rep. Julia Howard. They’ve reiterated to all staff members that safety protocols are there for a reason and must be followed.

Each school has a safety plan, and staff members are trying to make sure that all protocols are followed – including keeping all doors to the outside locked at all times.

“When you approach a school, you have to be let in,” he said.

To remain safe, it will take the community, Wallace said, adding that parents aren’t always positive with their reactions to safety protocols. He talked about an incident he saw where a woman at a school to pick up her child was forced to go back to her vehicle to get a photo ID. She was “extremely ugly” to school staff, Wallace said. “I reassured our staff member, you’re doing the right thing. Please don’t take it personally.

“Follow the protocols, everyone.”

He said the schools were already training front-office staff before the Uvalde shootings, because they are often the first to encounter a dangerous situation, and are mostly in charge of who is allowed into the buildings.

“These are things we do every year,” Wallace said.