Murray County school officials say the tragic events of the school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut last December caused the District to redouble its focus and efforts on school safety.

As a result, Murray County Schools has partnered with the Murray County Sheriff's Office to provide its students and staff with school resource officers, all of whom are certified deputies or police, in all of its elementary, middle and high schools. Officials from the county's Emergency Management Office and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency joined Administrative Services Director Michael Tuck on a tour of all county schools this week.

The school district will now have 13 full and part-time school security officers.  By adding these new officers, each of the 13 schools in the District now have a well trained and experienced armed guard on campus and available to it every day that school is in session. 

In addition to armed guards at all of its schools, the District will continue its practice of restricting access to its buildings, and thus to its students and staff,  by keeping all exterior doors shut and locked, and having only one means of visitor access to all of its buildings through secure "buzz-in" entry doors. They have also installed panic buttons at all of its schools that will immediately alert law enforcement and emergency responders to any threat.

The school district has also implemented an anonymous hotline by partnering with  Safe School Helpline® service.  The school district has been assigned a number for students, teachers, staff, or parents to call or text.  Anyone with concerns can now call (800) 324-4800 or text 66746 with the header "TIPS."  Reports may also be made via email. When a report is made, designated school officials immediately receive the report so the school can take swift action to resolve the issue.

Officials say it is the only school safety hotline to also provide direct access to trained crisis counselors, 24/7.  These counselors are said to be experts in dealing with the critical issues of pre- and adolescent suicide or self-harming, drug or alcohol abuse, bullying, sexual harassment and other mental health stressors.  Administrative Services Director Michael Tuck said, "When time is of the essence, potentially life-saving, professional help is immediately available to our students."