Keeping children safe in schools after latest mass shooting

NOW: Keeping children safe in schools after latest mass shooting

ST. JOSEPH, Mi. -- Just one day after an eighteen-year-old gunman killed nineteen children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, many parents are wondering if there is more that could be done to make schools safer places. 

“Those are our children in those school buildings, they need to do everything they can to protect the children’s safety,” said Laurie Clutter, visiting St. Joe from Fort Worth, Texas. 

It's an issue that school officials are not taking lightly in Southwest Michigan. 

Our Lady of the Lake Schools, formerly known as Lake Michigan Catholic, recently received a $77,000 school safety grant from the state to update its school security systems. 

"I always talk to students in my building, I go ‘what is the most important thing that I do at the school?’ And they understand that its to keep everybody safe," said Our Lady of the Lake Elementary's principal Larry Hoskins, describing that safety is one of his top priorities in the school. 

The safety grant is being used to upgrade the school's internal communication system, as well as add more security to the doors by changing the current locks to a key-fob system, adding more control to who has access to the building. 

But some parents, like Clutter and her friend Vickie Dennis-- also traveling from Fort Worth-- believe that after the shooting in Uvalde, schools need to be investing even more into security, possibly even arming teachers!

“Metal detectors, officers—if a teacher feels comfortable being trained in carrying, they should," Dennis said. 

School security consultant Kenneth Trump argued that having improved security at school is only half of the solution. 

“Any security technology is a supplement to but not a substitute for the best human piece behind it," he said. "Security technology is only as good as the weakest human link behind it.”

Trump added that having more mental health resources would be better than arming teachers. 

“Teachers want to be armed with technology, textbooks and the tools to educate our students. Principals are not police chiefs who are skilled to run an armed department of school employees," he said.

According to Trump, to have a secure school, teachers and staff need to undergo training to be alert and aware of their surroundings, and what to do in an active shooter situation. 

“We’re not going to find a quick fix for this," he said. "The goal is to eliminate all the risks. The reality is we reduce the risks. And we continue to work on that and learn from each incident, and stay vigilant when there’s not a crisis in the headlines.”

Principal Hoskins added that Our Lady of the Lake does do intruder drills regularly-- though he hopes that training will never have to be used. 

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