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Re-examine school security

December 18, 2012
The Leader Herald

As our children learn more about the horror that struck a Connecticut elementary school Friday, many, especially the younger ones, will need to be comforted. Many will want assurances what happened there cannot occur here.

Sadly, we adults know the answer to that. The evil that spurs a human being to do what was done to innocent little children Friday is vicious and beyond comprehension. There is no guarantee it can be prevented.

No doubt educators throughout our area are wondering this week if there is more that can be done to safeguard the children in their - and our - schools. Certainly, such second-guessing of security measures is wise. It should be an ongoing exercise.

Much already is being done to keep evil-doers out of our schools and to cope with them if they manage to get in. Our local schools have security policies and procedures. Law-enforcement agencies also work closely with local schools on security matters.

Resource officers in the schools can be effective shields against violence in schools. Years ago, they may not have been needed in our area, but times have changed. Because of their relationships with students and faculty, the resource officers sometimes can head off trouble before violence breaks out.

Already, we know of actions taken by staff at the Newtown, Conn., school that, beyond any doubt, saved the lives of some children. And stories of heroism are emerging. Among the heroes was Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who authorities said died while trying to stop the gunman. She had relatives and a house in our area.

Many teachers and other school staff members in our area have been trained in what to do in such horrific situations. All could benefit from regular retraining. Children, too, should be educated in how to react to violence.

The possibility of having to deal with horrific violence in local schools is extremely remote. Our children and their teachers are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be caught in a murderous assault. But if it does occur, being ready may save lives.

In the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shootings, local parents will have to think about what is appropriate to tell their children. Meanwhile, school officials should review whether their security plans are realistic, and if not, what needs to be done to make them so.



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