The Superintendent of Rome Schools joined WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning to explain the difference between a Lock Down and a Lock Out, and why a Lock Out was used following a double homicide in Rome this week.

Simons says he received a call around 6:45 on Monday morning saying there was a serious crime be investigated and that the suspect could have been in an area near the school. We communicated with Rome Police Department on an ongoing basis to make sure that students and staff are kept out of harms way.

Lock Down vs. Lock Out

  • Lock Down - Students and staff are not permitted to move from room to room or class to class. Kids can't go to gym, music...all movement within the school is stopped. Usually, occurs when there is harm within school.
  • Lock Out - Intended to keep someone in the area from entering the school. In that situation, he says the district is very vigilant about its visitor policy, checking ID's and kids are not allowed outside during recess or for lunch.

Would it have been different in this case if it were an automatic weapon instead of a knife?

  • Yes, if there had been a possibly gun involved instead of a knife, it would have impacted the decision to go to a Lock Down vs a Lock Out.

Cell Phone Policy

  • We're currently looking at the [existing] policy because of the prevalence. Kids and parents have phones with texting capabilities. The district's ability to get information out is affected by students having phones. However, Simons indicated it was actually a positive impact overall. ''In some cases, the fact that the kids are putting out information is helpful to us. Parents are put at ease sometimes, knowing that there is a situation but its under control,'' adding that parents may feel better after they talk to or communicate with their children during one of these situations.
  • He also says the district has a system with can contact parents via phone, making upto 5,000 calls in about 35 to 40 minutes to disseminate information.
  • Website updated quickly for putting information out, he said.

Tail end of the conversation also covered a seemingly ever growing concern, bullying.

State Aid

  • When the topic of 'wonderful' state aid for schools came up, Simons literally burst into laughter, saying its getting more expensive to run schools and districts are getting less support, something that has been an ongoing issue, he said.

Full interview from WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning: