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DeSoto County Schools begins new school year with school resource officers on each campus for first time

Other law enforcement training, security upgrades, and safety checks were done during the summer ahead of the new school year Thursday.

HERNANDO, Miss — When DeSoto County Schools students head to class and begin their new school year Thursday morning, they'll be greeted with new security upgrades and more student resource officers.

Leaders with the state's largest and fastest growing school district spent the summer prioritizing safety more than ever, in the aftermath of the elementary school mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

For the first time, DCS will staff a school resource officer at each of their 42 campuses districtwide, compared to SRO's at 30 schools last year.

"We want our parents to know we are being as proactive as we possibly can," DeSoto County Schools Superintendent Cory Uselton said. "Having (SRO's) there can prevent a lot of problems, we want people to see the school resource officer's car when they come on to campus but also having them there to build relationships with the students and then the students can come to them, that trust is there."

Uselton said all district teachers performed lockdown drills this summer, so they'll be better prepared to lead them with students. DeSoto County law enforcement also conducted school safety drills last month and staff did deeper inspections of each school building.

"At the beginning of the school year, we gave principals the opportunity to meet individually with the maintenance team in case they had any maintenance concerns with doors, front entrances, where they might need some assistance and upgrade over the summer," Uselton added.

DCS parents supported the improvements - including Steven Wright - whose three children are in the district.

"The way I feel as a dad, it's scary sending them off because you are with them all the time," Wright said. "They are taking a lot of precautions and making sure everything is right. A lot of peace of mind actually. More security, more safety, better I can feel sending them to school."

The DCS superintendent said the district is still filling some bus driver and teacher vacancies to start the school year.

Principals with teacher vacancies plan to use substitutes or literary specialists until those slots are filled.

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