How to save a life

Local schools review safety in wake of Sandy Hook
PLYMOUTH - In the wake of last week’s tragedy in Connecticut, the spotlight once again falls on violence perpetrated against schools, and the efforts of school administrations to insure the safety of staff and students.
Local school corporations have been actively involved in developing plans and protocols to combat any such action. Each school participates in the creation of safety handbooks, and school drills to insure that everyone knows what to do in case of such an emergency. Each school also has a staff member that acts as “safety expert”.
“We review our plan all of the time and drill at least once a semester obviously we don’t give out any details of what that plan is,” said Donna Burroughs, Superintendent at Triton Schools. “I’m actually a little concerned that news reports have talked about teachers hiding their kids for fear of what that information might cause if somebody tries this again.
“Later (Monday) I’ll send out an email to all our parents to remind them that if their children have questions or problems we have a free counseling program that they can take advantage of.”
“Ironically at Culver Elementary we had our drill on Thursday of last week,” said Culver Schools Superintendent Brad Schuldt. “We have a staff member who is a safety specialist in each of our buildings. Our plan is reviewed at the beginning of every school year.”
“We have a safety manual that’s updated every year and reviewed with staff,” said Russ Mikel, Superintendent at Bremen Schools. “We have ‘lock down’ practice at least twice a year to work on a prompt quick response. We’ll review all of that again now just to make sure everything is in place.”
Plymouth schools have also had a safety policy in place for several years that is reviewed with teachers. The school conducts its own lock down drills similar to others and all visitors to any Plymouth School Corporation building must be “buzzed in” from the office.
Over the weekend Superintendent Dan Tyree stated through social media that the corporation would “...reflect on our safety strategies, our plans for a school shooting, and our daily routines that keep the lives of our students and staff safe every minute they are at school.”
For one local school it is a day of even more sadness and reflection. Argos residents must not only deal with the national shock and outrage of Sandy Hook Elementary, but also the loss of two of their own.
“This is double for us since we lost a student and a mom in an accident over the weekend as well,” said Dr. Jennifer Lucht, Superintendent at Argos. “We’ve brought in extra counselors for the day to take care of any students who may need it.
“I have a standing staff meeting and we once again went over our handouts and directions on what to do (in a lock down situation). We participate in mandatory drills and lock downs and then critique each of those on how we performed. We are actually in the process of updating our handbook. We focus on helping our students feel safe.”