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Leaders of Madison City Schools prioritize safety and security as teachers and students return to their classrooms. CONTRIBUTED

Safety is top priority as Madison City Schools reopen

MADISON – With students returning to classrooms on Aug. 3, Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols discussed campus safety and security measures for Madison City Schools in his latest district update.

“Our district has many resources to keep our campuses safe, yet we are always looking for ways to improve,” Nichols said.

After the horrifying shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, MCS leaders conducted an audit of safety protocols. “This review included assessing facility vulnerabilities; forming a safety/security workgroup composed of teachers, staff, parents and administrators; and conducting a staff survey to get vital feedback,” Nichols said.

Currently, MCS currently has 10 School Resource Officers or SROs that serve on school campuses:

In addition, three private security guards and a safety and security coordinator are dedicated solely to enacting safety and security for the district.

In January 2019, Dr. David West accepted the position of MCS Safety, Security and Emergency Management Coordinator. West previously worked as principal, assistant principal, teacher and consultant. West also served with U.S. Army Military Police from 1996 until 2001.

“The Madison Police Department provides MCS with SROs who receive unique, high-quality training that qualify them for these assignments,” Nichols said. “We also utilize resources dedicated to mental health, early warning detection, intervention processes and personnel dedicated to addressing safety and security.”

By law, each school is required to have an updated Emergency Operations Plan or EOP. “The school’s EOP is updated annually, and staff are trained on their EOP and our district emergency response protocols. This school year, we will have a renewed focus on staff training, use of available resources and physical security,” Nichols said.

For security reasons, school staffs will not share specific plans. “We feel confident that our schools are safe,” Nichols said. “That said, we continue to look for ways to improve school safety and avoid becoming complacent.”

“I certainly appreciate the collaboration that we have with Chief Gandy and the Madison Police Department. They have been working with Dr. West to enhance our procedures for our school safety measures,” Nichols said.

Nichols also is pleased that previous members of boards of education, along with the current Madison Board of Education, continue to dedicate funds for SROs and West’s position of focusing on school safety.

“Student and campus safety/security will always be our top priority, and our partnerships with the Madison Police Department, parents and other community stakeholders will remain a vital part of this effort,” Nichols said.

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