Security expert: More training needed for school safety


Tragedies like the Newtown massacre has parents automatically thinking about the safety of their own children while at school.

Eyewitness News spoke with local school districts to get a better understanding of the safety plans in place.

As the details from the shooting in Connecticut become confirmed, schools all around the country and the world will sift through every detail to better determine how they might deal with an incident like this in the future.

Parents in central Indiana were horrified to watch events unfold in Connecticut, and they worried for the safety of their own children.

"We've gotten calls today from parents who heard what was happening asking us what kind of plan if something should happen. We do," said Mary Lang, spokesperson for Wayne Township Schools.

Lang outlined her district's plans in case of emergencies like the one that inspired Friday.

Like all school districts in Indiana, Wayne Township has a plan in place, as required by state law. Lang says the district practices those procedures several times a year. Chuck Hibbert helped devise that plan.

"I think what we have to do particularly at this stage, is that we have to trust that school officials are training, they're prepared, they're thinking about it, they're doing their lockdown drills that are required here in the state of Indiana and most states across the country and that people are just thinking about it," he said.

"It's a very horrible ordeal there. I couldn't even imagine getting that phone call, me as a father of many children and grandchildren. I couldn't even imagine. All I can say is everyone pray for 'em and these little kids," said Richard Howard, parent.

"The horror, the pain, the suffering, the grief at this time of the year is something that a lot of them will ever over. My thoughts and prayers are with those. I just can't imagine," said Johnnie Mickle.

The hard reality here is what can a school - even one that is prepared - ever be fully prepared for an armed attack?

"Unpleasant as it is, a determined shooter who arrives anywhere, a school or virtually anywhere else; we've seen these attacks at the capital, where we have multiple armed guards, police officers, highly trained professionals, let alone at a K-4 building or any elementary school, or anywhere in this country, the challenges are there," said Hibbert.

While this will most likely go down as the worst school shooting in US history, Hibbert says it also reveals something about how schools facing budget cuts and cost-saving measures balance the needs in the classroom and the needs in the event of an armed assailant.

"We've become more and more lax in my opinion, in our emergency preparedness, in our training of staff, and of the government. It's a difficult time financially for schools so they have to cut and that is certainly - I'm not blaming that; the individual who brought the guns and did the shooting is at fault here today. But we can do some things to minimize the threat," said Hibbert.

The students who were evacuated from Sandy Hook Elementary amid the shooting were told to cover their eyes. But they likely saw more in one day than many will ever see in a lifetime.