Bell holds summit for safety personnel
by Courtney Stevens
Aug 09, 2013 | 2270 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Principal Sonya Swafford and teacher Kristin Smith explain different emergency procedures that have been put in place for Bell Academy to city officials.
Principal Sonya Swafford and teacher Kristin Smith explain different emergency procedures that have been put in place for Bell Academy to city officials.
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Bell Academy hosted a Safety Summit on Thursday in which all local officials were invited to attend.

"We are not only using this as an opportunity to thank these officials for their service to our community but the goal of our Safety Summit is to be prepared in case of a crisis at the school," said Kristen Smith, Bell Academy science lab specialist.

Officials in attendance included Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell, Delta State Police Chief Buford, Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams, Emergency Management Agency Director Bill Quinton, Fire Inspector Gene Bishop, Cleveland School Board Member Maurice Lucas, Delta Community Mental Health Agency Representatives Dondolyn Miller and Karissa Marshall, Bolivar County Fire Chief Lee Tedder, school nurse Mandy Wilburn and Bolivar County Coroner Murray Roark.

Bell Academy Principal Sonya Swafford said the idea for the summit came from Delta State's recent Safety Summit.

"We want to make sure that safety responders know who we are and know about our building," said Swafford.

Each official was given a detailed map of the school and a crisis management plan and emergency procedures.

Smith led the group on a tour of the school, reviewing all of the exits, while Swafford reviewed the safety of the school.

"We just got a wonderful security system outside and our next step is to get one inside and hopefully to get a door buzzer.

"We are progressively working towards safety," said Swafford.

Bishop pointed out that while the fire department has a map of the school, it would be beneficial for other officials to have one as well.

"I'm sure the police department would be very interested to have one. This would be good for them," said Bishop.

The school continues to work diligently to keep students safe at all times.

Now that children can be dropped off rather than bussed in, the school worked with landowners next door to create a car pool area in an effort to keep traffic off U.S. Highway 61.

"We have cars on one side and busses on the front now, so that has helped as far as preventing a safety problem," said Swafford.

Swafford explained that they also have someone that walks out into the cross section in order to help control traffic.

"We were very pleased with number of community officials that took time out of their busy schedules to learn more information about Bell Academy," said Smith.

"We plan to update any new officials annually."