Lockdown, active shooter drills not required in South Carolina public schools

Lockdown, active shooter drills not required in South Carolina public schools (WCIV)

Lockdown drills prepare students for intruders and active shooter situations, but they are not required by law in South Carolina.

“The fact that lockdown drills are not required by the state, there needs to be some leeway with the way the laws are written and with what the state mandates,” said Tim Knight, the safety and security coordinator at the Berkeley County School District.

The current law regarding safety drills in public schools only requires schools to conduct fire drills, and Knight believes that isn’t enough.

“We haven’t had a person die in a school fire in 70 plus years, but how many have we had injured or killed because of other reasons,” Knight said. “We've got to be ready and prepared for anything.”

WATCH | Inside a school lockdown drill at Sangaree Intermediate, from a teacher’s perspective

Six days after the Parkland, Florida, shooting, however, a group of Lowcountry lawmakers threw their support behind H. 4966.

The bill would require active shooter training drills at all public high schools at least once a month in addition to fire drills.

A companion bill, S. 1057, was introduced on February 28 in the Senate and remains in committee.

While Knight is an advocate for lockdown drills to be mandated by law, schools in his district are already well ahead of the fight.

“We do at least four lockdown drills every school year,” Knight said.

Schools within the Charleston County School District are required to complete one lockdown drill but may conduct more, according to the district’s spokesperson Andy Pruitt.

Pruitt said all schools have completed the one required drill.

Dorchester County School District requires its schools to conduct two lockdown drills per year.

ABC News 4 asked for the dates the drills were conducted but has not received that information yet.

“They are very important because our students, staff and teachers have to know what to do,” Knight added. “They have to be prepared every day because, as we know and as we've seen nationally, it can happen any place, any time.”

If passed, the law would also fine teachers or superintendents who fail to conduct active shooter training drills between $10 and $25.

The representatives from the Tri-county area who signed on to support H.4966 are: Arrington (R) – District 94, Bennett (R) – District 114, Brown (D) – District 116, Gilliard (D) - District 111, Pendarvis (D) – 113, Rivers (R) – 15, and Stavrinakis (D) – District 119.

The Lowcountry senators who signed onto S. 1057 are: Senn (R) - District 41 and M.B. Matthews (D) - District 45.

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