Be There: MCSD uses emergency call system

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -  Our weekly "Be There" segment usually helps parents come up with ways to teach their children valuable lessons, but we're taking a new spin. News Leader Nine explains how the Muscogee County School District is teaching parents.

During Tuesday's manhunt for murder suspect Richard "Ritchie" Dodelin, several schools in the north Columbus area were put on lockdown. Most parents may panic hearing that kind of news, but the school district has a plan in place to keep all the parents educated on these types of situations.

Once the Columbus Police Department alerts the school district's security department about an incident, a voice message is then sent to parents. Valerie Fuller explained, "The first thing a parent wants to know is: is my child safe? That's the whole purpose of the message, to let parents know their child is safe and they are at school. But we also want parents to be informed and have accurate information because there are a lot of rumors that circulate around crisis situations, so we try to nip it in the bud."

Police were patrolling the outside of schools like Northside High School and Double Churches Middle School, while teachers were securing students inside.

Fuller told News Leader Nine, "Once the school goes on lockdown they lock interior and exterior doors so nobody can get in or out and you don't want to let visitors come to campus. That's important to note for parents and anyone else trying to enter the school at that time because safety is the priority for students and employees inside."

In a situation like Tuesday's manhunt, Fuller says the Connect-ED message comes in handy because it can be sent to a controlled group of families within the district, "All schools weren't on lockdown. Particular schools were on lockdown based on the location of the search. The entire district may have not gotten that message."

The school district says they are really proud of the efforts from all the faculty Tuesday. There were no reported incidents within the schools and teachers did a great job of getting all students in a classroom and out of harm's way.

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