The Cherokee County School District on Thursday conducted a multi-agency emergency response drill to practice school evacuation and reunification plans.

The drill was held during the winter break to avoid disrupting classes, with activity taking place at Cherokee High School in Canton, CCSD’s offices in Canton, and First Baptist Church of Woodstock. Hundreds of law enforcement and public safety officers, volunteer role-players including students and parents, and CCSD employees worked together to act out an emergency scenario at the school, evacuation of the school, and reunification of students and staff with their families at the church.

The event was coordinated by the CCSD School Police Department with Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services, the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office; Canton, Woodstock, Holly Springs and Ball Ground Police Departments; Woodstock Fire Department, and the Cherokee Marshal’s Office, 911 Center and Emergency Operations Center. Officers from Cherokee and across the state also participated as drill evaluators.

“No educator wants to imagine an emergency happening at a school, but we must be prepared,” Superintendent Brian Hightower said. “Thursday’s drill showed us the importance of our focus on training and practice and will help us further refine our procedures. I’m very proud of School Police Chief Buster Cushing and Emergency Operations Facilitator Danielle Ross for organizing this successful event, and I’m grateful for the strong support of our community’s law enforcement and public safety agencies.”

Hightower said he also greatly appreciates all of the volunteers; First Baptist Church of Woodstock for use of its facilities and the support of its staff during the drill; and the Chick-fil-A restaurants of Cherokee County for donating lunches to drill participants.

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