Educators and police discuss school safety

By Angela Sparkman | 

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - In light of the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre, school officials are evaluating safety plans and emergency procedures.

WYMT visited Harlan City Schools, where officials want parents to know they are doing everything they can to keep children are safe.

Monday morning, Harlan school leaders hung up signs on all the outside doors that tell students not to open the door for anyone.

"Making sure everyone understands the proper procedures," said Charles Morton, principal at the Middle and High School.

The signs were put up after the mass school shooting in Connecticut but Harlan leaders put school security into action a few weeks ago, dealing with a possible threat from a student. Police say that student is now facing terroristic threatening charges and is no longer in class.

"It's why you have to investigate and it's why you have to act appropriately because the last thing I want to do is face something like that," said Mike Thomas, Harlan Police Chief.

In light of the possible student threat at Harlan High School and the shooting in Connecticut, both Harlan police and school officials are reviewing the school safety plans and emergency procedures.

"At the end of the day, we want to make sure we're providing the safest opportunity for students," said Morton. "These are precious human beings and every one of them belong to a mother and father and we want to make sure they end up at mom and dad's hands at the end of the day."

Police presence was already increased at the school several weeks ago. Both police and school officials want parents to know their children are considered safe at school.

"You cannot take anything for granted. Since I've been chief, we've had two threats. I did not standby. I did not wait. Things were handled and I will continue to do that and this department will continue to do that," said Chief Thomas.

Chief Thomas also says all of the city's officers have undergone specialized training on how to handle and active shooter situation.

Police and Harlan School officials also invite any parents with school safety concerns to talk to them.

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