After the Newtown tragedy, school officials all over the country have been trying to figure out the best way to increase safety in their schools.
Here in Barbour County, administrators and the Sheriff's Department are teaming up to do just that. Starting this month, each school in the county will have a deputy assigned to come in several times a week and be around the students.
"It's very, very important that we have that rapport with local law enforcement community. That our kids understand these are folks you can turn to, they're there truly to protect and serve," said Dr. Joe Super, Superintendent of Barbour County Schools.
The deputies will eat lunch with the kids, go to gym class, and interact with them. They hope to make students more comfortable around law enforcement officers, and remind them there's always someone there to help.
"We feel that the children need to feel safe in their school environment. Some children, unfortunately, this is their only safe zone, they're not even safe at home. So, when they do come here, we feel if our presence is shown more, then they will feel safer, and they're not scared or timid to come to school," said Chief Deputy Brett Carpenter of the Barbour County Sheriff's Department.
Safety has always been a major focus for both law enforcement and the county board of education. All school officials will go over safety plans, just to make sure everything would go smoothly in case of an emergency. However, those drills are nothing new in the county's schools.
"There are various code drill that they're required to perform each year. I think our people do, sometimes in human nature that if it doesn't effect us, we tend to let our guard down, and we just have to make sure now, that our folks are a little more vigilant to what's going on in their surroundings," said Dr. Super.
By teaming up, the board and sheriff's department hope to make sure nothing like the Newtown tragedy would happen here.
"Hopefully, our presence can stop that from happening again, and like I said, hopefully it'll help the children feel safer when they come to school, knowing there will be an officer there at some point in time," said Carpenter.
Deputies will start going to the schools on January 10th.