MADISON – New Boone County Schools Director of Safe Schools and Special Program Tony Tagliente says safety continues to be a top priority for the local public school system.
“Emergencies can happen at any time,” Tagliente said. “We can’t eliminate senseless acts of violence or evil, but we can be prepared and we can be ready.”
This year the school system has developed a modified “Code Red” system they are calling “Code Yellow.”
“Code Red was a total lockdown of the school,” Tagilente explained. “Code Yellow is implemented when there is a threat or potential threat outside of the building.”
Under Code Yellow all exterior and interior doors are locked, security is increased at the main entrance of the building, visitors are screened, hall remain clear and school or county emergency teams will clear halls, areas are scanned and direct students and staff to classrooms and workspace. However, classroom instruction and work will continue.”
Tagliente said Code Red calls for a total lockdown of the school and classrooms and students are moved away from doors and windows and kept quiet until the “all clear” signal has been given.
“All schools in the county will be training and practicing Code Yellow and Code Red drills,” he said. “Safety teams are at schools now training, teaching and preparing for any possible situation.”
Tagliente also outlined access control audits, which includes a functional school safety committee made up of administrators, teachers, service personnel, students, parents and 911 responders.
“We go over planning, reaction, detection, delay and communications with these audits,” he said. “School safety is a top priority for Boone County Schools.”
Tagliente also encouraged the community to make use of the West Virginia Safe Schools Helpline, which is a toll-free telephone number that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“It’s a statewide number, so no matter what school the information concerns or where you are located when calling, it’s the same number,” he said. “It’s anonymous and your identity will always be protected and remain private.”
Tagliente said the kind of information that should be reported includes anything that could harm students, staff or property. Some examples include violence, weapons, threats, drug or alcohol abuse, sexual harassment and theft or property damage.
“The Helpline is here for everyone,” he said. “It’s here for students, parents, teachers, school staff, neighbors, administrators and community members.”
Each call is issued a reference number. After three school days, a person that made the initial report can call the Helpline back and provide the reference number and the operator will give a status report on actions taken based on the information reported.
“Children must feel safe in order to focus on learning,” Tagliente said. “It is all of our responsibility to help keep our schools and communities safe.”
The toll-free Helpline number is 1-866-SAFE-WVA or 1-866-723-3982.
Some other important and helpful telephone numbers include:
• WV Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at 304-558-5380
• WV State Police at 304-746-2100
• Child & Adult Abuse Hotline at 1-800-352-6513
• Hate Crimes Hotline at 1-888-676-5546
• Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255
• Drug Abuse and Referrel Hotline at 1-800-662-4357