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Louisiana teachers, school leaders talk safety after Texas school shooting

News of another school shooting reached right into classrooms here in Southeast Louisiana.

NEW ORLEANS — When Kimbrelle Kyereh walks back into her Jefferson Parish classroom Wednesday morning, things will be different.

“If it comes up, we’ll address it,” Kyereh said. “We’ve tried to prepare before, but yes, things will be different. I’ll lock my door again to my classroom. I’ve done it already.”

As a mother and 30-year teacher, Kyereh says hearing at least 19 kids were killed by a gunman while at their Texas elementary school, is not only devastating, it’s a harsh reminder about safety in the classroom.

“There are times when things like this happen, no I do not feel safe,” Kyereh said. “I don’t.”

“We’re talking about our kids, we’re talking about our teachers, we’re talking about administrators, staff members,” said former New Orleans police officer and security expert Reginald Rowe.

Rowe says in any active shooter situation, whether in a school or grocery store, anything around you is a weapon for safety.

“If you’re at a grocery store, things that are actually on the shelf you can use to throw at the attacker,” Rowe said. “If you’re in a school, books, you name it, whatever is on the teachers desk you can use it.”

Rowe says routine school drills are important, but additional safety measures, like armed officers, need to be just as routine.

“Everybody that goes inside of a school, they’re valuable. We have to make sure that the correct safety measures are put in place,” Rowe said. “You can’t cut any corners when it comes to safety.”

“We are taking every precaution we can to make sure that they’re kids are staying safe,” said Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent James Grey.

Grey says while there’s no threat to the district, school leaders are paying attention to what happened in Texas.

“This is an opportunity for us to kind of sit back and reflect about what we are doing in terms of society, but also what we can do to make sure that we are ensuring that all our kids are safe,” Grey said.

That’s a sense of safety that far too often gets shattered, leaving folks like Kyereh afraid of where the next mass shooting may be.

“We practice for this type of thing but it’s no way that you can truly prepare for it,” Kyereh said.

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