Safety plans in place at DeSoto County Schools as new school year begins

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — The biggest school district in Mississippi heads back to school in just a few days.

DeSoto County Schools starts back Thursday, Aug. 4.

As another school year begins, safety remains top of mind.

FOX13 looked into what the district and law enforcement are doing to keep schools secure.

Don’t expect the district to put out a contingency plan or a safety plan for each school.

“We have safety plans, which our principals and teachers are aware of,” Superintendent Cory Uselton said. “We don’t share a lot of that in public. The reason we don’t want someone on the outside with bad intentions to know exactly what safety plans we have.”

Uselton told us teachers would go through safety drills long before the students arrive, but he would not say what they were.

“But our principals and our teacher are informed, and they will be practicing drills before the students arrive,” Uselton said.

The school system is still looking to hire more school resource officers so that they can have an officer for every campus.

Talks continue with city and county leaders, and more officers are expected at schools this year.

Randy Martin of Hernando has grandkids in the school system.

“I do think all school systems should have a plan, and the doors are locked, and there are guards at the school,” Martin said.

Another parent who wouldn’t go on camera said she thought the school system needed metal detectors.

We were told that is not happening in DeSoto County, but the superintendent said a private company would check all doors before school starts.

“We have contracted with someone outside to come in and check on all our exterior doors and check anything that needed to be replaced and repaired,” Uselton said.

Last month Southaven Police held active shooter training on the campus of DeSoto Central High School.

Similar exercises have been held at other schools in the county.

”It is important for the officers to know the layout, and it is good experience for the officers in the event that something like this, God forbid, does happen, then this is not the first time they will be at this school,” Major Seth Kern, SPD, said.