School safety protocols discussed as students prepare to return to NHHS after shooting

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Students at New Hanover High School are set to return to the building on Wednesday following a shooting on Monday, and the district is discussing safety protocols.

New Hanover County Schools safety director Glen Locklear says when it comes to an active shooter situation, the district follows the ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ protocol from the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools.

Locklear says that procedure was followed on Monday with the school going into a lockdown, until law enforcement decided to evacuate the building.

When it comes to preparation, schools typically conduct three lockdown drills per year.

“We perform one lockdown drill with just the staff during workdays at the beginning of the school year, and then during the fall semester we do one full scale lockdown drill at the school,” Locklear said. “And typically in the spring we have had one lockdown drill where we involve law enforcement.”

Some viewers have asked if metal detectors could be implemented in schools. Locklear says the district will consider all options after conferring with law enforcement.

“We don’t currently use metal detectors as a regular basis in the school district,” Locklear said. “I think what we will do moving forward is look at all options, feasibility, and what’s best to implement to keep all of our students safe.”

Meanwhile, some students are nervous about returning to the building after Monday’s frightening moments.

“I mean I think everyone’s going to be nervous,” said sophomore Mason Shand. “It’s going to be weird walking across that catwalk again.”

Mason Shand says he was leaving the weight room Monday, headed toward the catwalk, when gunshots rang out.

“You hear those three gunshots and the first thing I thought was, ‘man I gotta run.’ And I just rant the opposite direction as fast as I could,” he said.

Shand says he’s heard even more harrowing stories from fellow students.

“I think a lot of people have PTSD from it, because I know people that fell and there’s a guy that skinned his knees and he was right there,” he said. “And then there’s a guy that had blood on his shorts. Some people, it’s going to be hard to get that out of their head.”

Clinical therapist supervisor Leslie Wilder says she’s heard some of those firsthand accounts from students calling into a county support hotline.

“They’ve been expressing their fear of returning to school,” Wilder said. “Some students are in shock of what happened because some were very close to the incident.”

Meanwhile, Shand has taken to Instagram encouraging his fellow students to learn and grow from the experience. The video has racked up nearly 8,000 views.

“The only way that’s going to happen is if we bond together,” Shand said. “We’ve got to get better as a whole, everybody’s got to get better.”

New Hanover High School Principal Philip Sutton released a statement on the school district’s Facebook page Tuesday night, assuring students there would be an increased law enforcement presence at the school on Wednesday.

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