Local schools are reacting to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. They're stepping up security in New Hanover County to keep students safe. Ashley High School Principal, James McAdams, says "Our students are very disappointed in what happened and very concerned that it could happen at any time. We're all saddened by it." Sad... and on guard. Following the shootings at Virginia Tech, Monday, New Hanover County school administrators are taking extra precautions, in case a similar situation happens in our area. "We're like a society. Whatever happens in society, can happen here," said McAdams. Right now, county schools have strict safety policies. Among other things, they make random checks of student lockers and bookbags. They have walkie-talkies and ID badges, along with different people stationed at different places, at different times, throughout schools. As an additional safety precaution, doors are kept locked. But once you do get in the building, every visitor is required to sign in and get a pass before walking down the hall. The county has also implemented a crisis management and response team. New Hanover County Schools Safety Director, Harris McIntyre, says the group is "an array of different people [the county has] on a steering committee to guide us and making sure that [schools] have a crisis response and management program that's going to be effective in times of crisis." Administrators say if a weapon were brought to a school, they're ready. Ready to lock-down or even evacuate a building, but most of all, keep its students and staff safe. If a student is caught with a weapon, he or she could face some stiff consequences, including long-term suspension for up to 365 days.
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