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Safety is top priority as parents, students prepare for upcoming school year

(CBS DETROIT) -- School safety is on the mind of most people this time of year, from school officials to parents and students alike.

By the time students get through the doors to when they return back home to their families, they are safe.

"(We have) the buzzer so that you have to be buzzed in. We have cameras and speakers so that we can identify who's trying to gain access to our building during the school day," said James Jackson, executive director of community schools at Southfield Public Schools.

Jackson sat down with CBS Detroit to discuss school safety measures. He talked about the deadly shooting at Oxford High School that left four students dead and six others and a teacher injured and how the district is continuing to change the conversations on safety.

"To have something happen so close to home, it shakes everybody," he said.

Jackson said they are now looking at how to evacuate students during a shooting or other serious incidents.

"What are the key things that need to happen to get our students and our staff out of the building and reunite it with their families?" he said.

Jackson says since the Oxford school shooting, threats have gone up in the area.

"Social media threats, people talking about doing something at school this week or the next day, all of those threats were taken seriously. All of those threats were reported to the local police department that investigated every single one of them to determine whether or not they were actual threats, an actionable threat or not," he said.

While school shootings are a serious threat, Jackson says there are other things that parents and students should consider to stay safe.

"If they're walking by themselves, stay alert, not be in their phone, be aware of your surroundings," he said. "Be aware of any suspicious activity. If you see a car in the parking lot that just sits there and nobody seems to get in or out of that car, but there's somebody in that car, those are the types of things that we want you to stay vigilant in."

It's a lot for parents and students to be thinking about, but it's all in the effort to keep children safe, both physically, mentally and emotionally.

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