New safety measures coming to Bay District Schools

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It's been nearly a year since Florida's devastating Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Thursday Bay District Schools administrators gathered to reflect on lessons learned and new safety procedures still to come.

Chief of Security and Police for Bay District Schools, Mike Jones, organized a workshop Thursday morning to brief faculty on new legislation expected to pass. Some topics included mental health among students, emergency drills, and school resource officers.

Jones also presented a set of new recommendations, drafted by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, some of which Bay District Schools already practiced.

"They got new presentation to the legislation this year, 7030 I believe is the bill, and we wanted to talk to our people and let them have the information of what the Parkland commission findings were," said Jones.

Among the findings--two words that, if said quick enough, could save lives. "Well, what they found at Parkland was that nobody was calling Code Red in a timely manner because they didn't know if they were supposed to or not. Now the law is gonna say any employee of the school system can call Code Red," explained Jones.

Schools will also have to implement hard corners, or safe areas, in classrooms where students are placed during lockdown situations.

But as Florida's schools are tightening their security, Bay District Schools face their own set of unique challenges brought on by Hurricane Michael.

Gelonda Martin, Assistant Principal at Jinks Middle School said, "We had some areas in the school where some of the fencing was damaged, primarily, but we have gotten those things reestablished at our schools--making sure we're locking our gates, and so forth."

Jones says he hopes to have the schools' pre-storm security measures back to normal by Christmas. Nevertheless, Bay District Schools staff will continue to keep students safe on the inside from the dangers that may be outside.