MATHEWS COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — It’s a sad reality, but school officials across the country are taking notes following several mass school shootings and taking the steps necessary to fill in the gaps.
Nancy Welch with Mathews County Public Schools says they’ve enhanced security in several ways for this school year.
“The recent shootings in Texas showed there were two areas, one was the interior and exterior door locks and how they are used…this is something we looked at as a crisis team and changed some of our procedures about door locks and expectations but also we found we did have a gap as far as our online presence and monitoring,” said Welch.
Therefore, they enhanced that too, through a program called Lightspeed Alert. It’s a layered approach that monitors students’ emails and internet searches.
“Think about it, if you put something in a search as you intend to harm somebody else no matter what the means and that would actually send an alert to the light speed team themselves. That team of individuals will look at that and say does that meet the standards to send out a notification to the school. Does it meet the standard to call the school or call law enforcement if it’s deemed to be an imminent threat?,” Welch explained.
The program will be implemented in all three Mathews County Public Schools. They gave it a trial run during summer school.
“We had an alert that came through, it was very effective. Not very time consuming as soon as the alert came through, we were talking to the student within moments of receiving the alert,” said Welch.
Welch said on top of changing their door lock procedures, and adding this new online monitoring system, they’re also waiting on several security grants to update all their camera systems.
Welch said they should know if they received the grants sometime this month. She said school officials are also hoping to add a security vestibule in the middle school.