Should suburban schools add extra security measures in the wake of school shootings?

Posted at 9:09 AM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 09:09:20-05

It has been one week since one of the deadliest school shootings in modern American history happened in Florida, leaving 17 people dead.

On Tuesday, a seventh-grade student at Jackson Memorial Middle School in Stark County shot himself in the school bathroom.

These shootings and attacks are most commonly happening in suburban schools.

Which got us thinking if they're considering beefing up security efforts like those in city schools, who typically don’t see these types of mass shootings occur.

Inside all schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and others like Warrensville Heights Middle School, there are metal detectors, sometimes even baggage scanners. 

Chief Lester Fultz with the district’s school safety and security department, who was initially reluctant to speak on the topic as to not be insensitive to what Florida and Jackson Township school districts are going through, said it’s not the only solution, but it’s just a solution that works for them.

“We really have to figure out the ‘whys’ and not so much the ‘how’s’, if we can get ahead of this fight, then we save a lot of lives,” he said.

He said they chose to respond with they type of security equipment after a school shooting incident at one of their schools happened back in 2007.

But most suburban schools in our area, do not have that level of security. But Chief Fultz said it’s not about who’s doing it better, it’s about what works for each school.

Like Principal Rob Winton at Rocky River High School, who doesn’t have metal detectors, but says security is a top priority.

They focus mainly on drills like run, hide, fight, have more than 30 security cameras and have an armed security guard walking the campus at all times.

But is it enough?

He says that’s what they’re trying to figure out right now, but it’s a delicate balance.

“It’s always that dilemma of trading security for privacy, and you’re giving up this aspect of your life to get this security in place, I don’t know if it would prevent things or not,” Winton said.

Principal Winton says the school isn’t completely ruling out the idea of metal detectors, but at the end of the day, as much as they prepare for something, a crisis can always strike.

Both him and Chief Fultz agree there is no perfect answer to the situation, instead, they say it’s all trial and error.