Local school districts have reviewed their check-out procedures following the recent kidnapping of 6-year old Jashayla Markaia Hopson in northern Mississippi, and Laurel officials say they believe their policies are sound.
The Laurel School District's check-out policy is a three-step process that is tried and true, according to Laurel School District Superintendent Chuck Benigno.
"I think if you follow all your procedures, and if all adults that enter the campus are required to go to the office, and if they're required to go to the office, and if they're required to sign in and show identification, and if you only release them if they're on the checkout list, then it's a pretty good system," Benigno said.
The check-out policy starts before an individual enters the building. A visitor must first ring a doorbell located outside before a staff member grants entry while they are being watched on camera by office staff.
Next, the visitor must sign into the school's checkout book. After this step, the visitor must present a valid form of identification, all while appearing on the student's most current checkout list. Benigno also says if the computer system that holds the child's checkout list crashes, the office staff holds a handwritten backup.
Each parent or guardian must sign a hard copy of the checkout list during school enrollment times.
Oak Park Elementary secretary Ramona Benson keeps a watchful eye on all individuals requesting to withdraw a student for early dismissal. "If there is someone coming in the door who we are not acquainted with, our first line of defense is to ask why they are picking up the child, why the child is needed, and if they are on the pickup list," Benson said.
Benigno says he plans on keeping all Laurel schools tightly secured to ensure the safety of each individual in the district.
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