School Alert

School Bus MGN KAUZ

With the threat of possible war and the nation on heightened alert, education officials throughout the country are taking caution.

Recently, state superintendent Henry Johnson placed Mississippi schools on a level two alert status. With level five being the most serious, state Association for School Safety president, Dr. Sam Thompson says a level two basically calls for schools to be more cautious.

"We have guidelines and procedures and we're just going to familiarize ourselves with them," said Thompson.

Dr. Thompson is also director for safety for the Meridian Public School District. He says these guidelines include directions from the FBI in terms of what things to look for such as large groups of otherwise healthy individuals becoming ill at the same time.

These illnesses can include: bleeding disorders, unexplained rashes, flu-like symptoms or neuromuscular illnesses.

Although he thinks an attack is unlikely in our area, Lauderdale County Superintendent David Little says in case of an emergency his district is ready.

"At the four county high schools we have a deputy sheriff serving as a resource officer who will keep us up to date with the sheriff's department," said Little.

Local school officials say the new terror alert plan is basically the same as the one prior to Sept.11, which addresses how to handle any biological or chemical spill. They say the only major difference is that the updated plan calls for more cooperation between school officials and outside services such as local law enforcement and emergency management officials.