Educators aware of safety

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cloverdale High School Principal Sonny Stoltz remembers a different time when schools were more open.

"We used to leave the doors open," Stoltz told the BannerGraphic Tuesday. "We wanted to welcome people.

"Now, we feel so cold."

Times have changed and Stoltz is aware of that.

The tragic event that unveiled at Virginia Tech Monday, when a 23-year-old student went on a shooting rampage, killing 32 people and himself, brought the topic of school safety to the forefront of the minds of school administrators again.

But Putnam County school administrators have been taking steps to secure school buildings for several years.

Stoltz is part of the Putnam County Safe School Committee. Along with several others, the group has taken the necessary steps to keep all the school corporations in the county safe.

"Each day, we're evaluating what we do in regard to school safety," Stoltz said. "This is just another example of why it's important. It is an issue."

South Putnam High School Assistant Principal Dan Bain is also a member of the committee. On Tuesday, he said SPCSC took time out in the morning to recognize Monday's tragic event.

He said the school had a student in the office talking about the incident to the other students over the intercom. He added the school dedicated a moment of silence to the 32 collegiate students that were killed Monday.

Bain said high schools have taken steps to better secure schools since the events that took place at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., eight years ago this week.

"If you think about it, all the things that have happened have been at high schools and elementaries," Bain said Tuesday. "It was more relevant because of what was happening."

SPCSC has a security system on its building doors requiring any visitor to press a button in order to get in the building. However, Bain said the corporation is always looking at other ways to improve safety conditions.

"We're always doing things to make our campuses safer," he said. "You've just got to continue to try to do things. We've come a long way, but we've got a long way to go."

Bain added that Monday's event will add further fuel to corporations' desires to make the school environment as safe as possible for students.

"You have to take the scenario and deal with it," he said. "But it will never be perfect."

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