TYLERTOWN — Walthall County schools are more ready for outside threats than they were a year ago.
Joel Lofton, the law enforcement instructor at the district’s career center, presented the results of the latest threat assessment to the school board on Tuesday.
The district measures itself in seven areas on the assessment: security and emergency management, security force, entry control, fencing and gates, parking and barriers, building envelope, and cameras and video surveillance.
The district scores points for meeting certain benchmarks or having certain elements in place in each assessed area.
“We have made progress,” Lofton told board members, pointing to a 12-point gain in security and emergency management, a five point gain in security force and a four or five-point gain in parking and barriers.
He noted that the district made more progress than the graph of scores in each category indicates.
“The district score is based on the lowest campus score,” Lofton said, meaning any campus that didn’t improve would result in no improvement in the district score.
However, he said every campus had at least some improvement in at least one of the assessed areas. COVID-19 delayed further progress, he said, due to schools being closed last spring, and district employees then being needed to work on virus mitigation measures.
Lofton presented a roster of actions for the school board to consider to improve the district’s threat readiness, including 27 new policies and related actions, 22 cost items for infrastructure or equipment and five areas for collaboration with other agencies.
He said he expected to hear whether the district won a $40,000 grant to help address security needs soon.
He said the district is moving toward card access to district buildings, and already has the equipment to make badges that could be used as access cards, but was not awarded a grant that would have allowed the district to buy and install the costlier equipment needed at doors.
The board accepted Lofton’s report and recorded it in the minutes as required by state law.