Worth Schools Receive Safety Evaluations

Worth County EMA Director Tom Whittington and WCES Principal Steven Rouse joined GEMA School Safety Coordinator Frank Maneer during a tour of WCES. Maneer was asked to evaluate Worth County schools in an effort to increase safety.

Worth County EMA Director Tom Whittington and WCES Principal Steven Rouse joined GEMA School Safety Coordinator Frank Maneer during a tour of WCES. Maneer was asked to evaluate Worth County schools in an effort to increase safety.

School safety is a top priority for the Worth County Board of Education. School leaders recently asked GEMA  (Georgia Emergency Management Agency) School Safety Coordinator Frank Maneer to review current standards in an effort to increase security measures and improve existing policies.
As part of a system-wide evaluation, Maneer toured Worth County Elementary School last Wednesday, looking for ways to improve security and ultimately keep students safe. All the schools are re-evaluating their safety standards and policies. WCES Principal Steven Rouse stated that as a school, the very first thing they think about each and every day is school safety.
“Obviously we focus on academics,” stated Rouse, “but school safety is always first and foremost in our minds each and every day.”
Maneer spent hours walking through each school, looking for ways to enhance security. He explained that at the request of the school board, he agreed to tour each schools and provide recommendations to help ensure both the school, staff and students have the safest environment possible. “We come out and we’re not regulatory,” explained Maneer. “So we’re not inspecting.”
Maneer is employed with the GEMA School Safety Unity (SSU), Area E. He began employment with them in June 2013 and underwent GEMA’s SSU plans and survey evaluation training. He retired from the Air Force in January 2013 after 24 years. He has 11 years experience in law enforcement which includes K-9 and Anti-Terrorism. Maneer also has 13 years experience in Emergency Management as well as extensive experience with safety, emergency response, HAZMAT, and security plans and programs development and evaluation. He spent five years as the Emergency Management Programs Manager for all U.S. Air Force in Europe (USAFE) while stationed at USAFE HQ. Maneer evaluated safety and emergency response plans for all the Air Force bases in Europe to include safety aspects for all Department of Defense schools and sat in a lead position for the USAFE exercise and evaluations team.
Maneer’s goal is to use his experience to help keep schools safe. He referenced  how the Sandy Hook shooting massacre in December 2012 impacted every school system across the country. “Sandy Hook changed a lot about the way schools look at safety. A catastrophic incident, but it brought about the needs schools have to step up and do safety and security evaluations and sometimes change what the existing practices are.”
“We do this periodically, have GEMA and our local emergency management agency come in and they just give us an outside view of what we’re currently doing and offer up suggestions,” Rouse said.
The safety survey is funded through the state, at no cost to the school system. School systems across Georgia have access to the program. Maneer’s next step is developing a report for each school and helping them implement the best plan to keep students safe.