School security reviewed

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In response to Connecticut incident

By Dave Bell

In the wake of last Friday’s shootings at a Connecticut elementary school, Vandalia school officials are reviewing their security practices and emergency procedures.
“It certainly produces a heightened sense of urgency about the dangers,” said Superintendent of Schools Rich Well. “It makes you realize that we’re as vulnerable as the next school.”
Law enforcement officials in Newtown, Conn., are still trying to piece together a motive that caused 20-year-old Adam Lanza to kill 26 people – 20 of them children.
The troubled youth was dressed in black and armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle and two pistols.
It was also determined that Lanza shot his mother to death before forcing his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opening fire on administrators and in two classrooms. As law enforcement officials began converging on him, he took his own life.
“When something like this takes place at a school, it really hits you in the gut,” said Well.
“It’s not really a school issue; it’s a society issue. But unfortunately, it is in the schools now.
"It happens at churches, malls and theaters, but it’s scary when it happens in a school. We’ve thought that schools were safe.
“Those parents in Connecticut sent their kids to school that day without one worry in the world. School is supposed to be a safe haven.”
As a result, Well said that district administrators have been reviewing the plans they have in place, looking to see if last Friday’s tragedy prompts any changes.
“We’re always evaluating our practices and plans,” he said. “We will usually come out with a new list of do’s and don’ts. Our people have told us that they feel good about the procedures that were done in the Sandy Hook classrooms (to protect other students from further violence), because we have practiced those things, too.
“I know that administrators and teachers have checked the doors more this week than we usually do. It’s heightened our awareness of making our schools as safe as possible.”