South Effingham Elementary School holds mock safety drill - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Effingham school holds mock safety drill

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It's not a pretty picture. An angry parent with no custodial rights marches into South Effingham Elementary School, demanding to see their child. The school refuses. The parent pulls out a gun.

That was the scenario teachers and staff at South Effingham had to deal with Thursday morning.

WTOC wasn't allowed at the drill, and neither were the students. They had the day off.

Principal Susan Hartzog said this safety drill was planned way before the Sandy Hook shootings. Since then, the school has tweaked their safety plan with the help of school resource officers and the Effingham County Sheriff's Office.

Some of the changes included a code using different colors. Teacher post the code on the outside of their classroom doors. Green means all students are accounted for and there's no problem. Yellow means some students are out, maybe sick or at speech therapy, but there are no immediate problems. A red sign means the teacher needs help immediately.

Principal Hartzog said Thursday's drill shows their strengths and weaknesses.

"One of the biggest challenges is you can't prepare perfectly for every scenario. Unfortunately, there are people out there creating ways to do evil things to innocent people. It's our job to have protocols to be as safe as possible, but it's frustrating to me that I don't have total control over every variable," said Hartzog.

After the drill, teachers, staff and the school resource officer came back together to discuss what worked, what didn't, and brainstormed better ideas for the future.

Principal Hartzog didn't want to give away the schools entire safety plan, but she said the drill went very well.

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