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Local school districts discuss safety protocols after Michigan shooting

Local school districts discuss safety protocols after Michigan shooting
Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 18:42:51-05

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — Some survivors of the Oxford High School shooting in Michigan credit the training they received in school with saving their lives, but it's a parent’s worst nightmare for it to have to be put into practice.

“It’s one thing, sending your kid off to school. It's the next thing sending them off and then there's a school shooting. And then you're getting that phone call,” said Eric Wallace, a parent from North Olmsted.

Wallace said though he isn’t fearful of the same thing happening in his own community, it's still a tough pill to swallow as a parent.

“You kind of question things. You kind of start thinking of what you can do to prevent things like that, and at the end of the day, there's really no way to prevent it,” said Wallace.

But in North Olmsted City Schools, there is a plan in place should a shooting occur, including the ALICE training some students in Michigan credit with saving their lives. It stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate.

"We go above what's kind of required or expected as far as the training and the drills and training of staff and students alike of all ages,” said North Olmsted City Schools superintendent David Brand.

Brand said the district also has two school resource officers on staff and students are encouraged to use the Safer Ohio School Tip Line to report threats to their safety.

He said the school is also prioritizing mental health resources for students.

“We have some walk and talks with our counselors where they just take a lap and walk and talk with a group who wants to go,” said Brand. “And that helps us feel better because a lot of us are tired right now with everything going on with COVID all these years and some of the struggles and challenges that we just see in society in general. We have to recognize that and address it and deal with it.”

At Parma City Schools, the district also does ALICE training, has night locks on classroom doors to block intruders from getting inside, and they’re also focusing on mental health.

“We've tried to be as proactive as possible and really focusing on the whole child to make sure that we're providing as many different resources for our kids and for our families so that we don't have students get into that type of situation of desperation,” said Parma City Schools superintendent Charles Smialek.

However, despite all the precautions, Smialek is still relying on the school community to help too.

“As an educator, there really is no specific drill, there's no specific piece of hardware or metal detector or anything else like that that is going to be 100% deterrence. The best, most effective really, source of protection – we have our kids and our teachers and our staff members,” said Smialek. “We always tell our kids, ‘There are thousands and thousands of more eyes and ears than we have in terms of the adults,’ and we really try to try and emphasize to our students that, you know, ‘If you see something, say something,’ and as simple and cliche as that is, it's really a powerful message.”

For Wallace, that’s important. But he’s encouraging other parents to make sure those conversations are also happening at home.

“Just just talk to them. Don't let them just run up to their room and get on their game system and don't talk to him the rest of the day. Just be present,” said Wallace.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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