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Barberton School District trains students, takes proactive approach to prevent school violence

Posted at 4:41 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 18:24:55-05

One day after a mass shooting that killed 17 in Florida, preventing another tragedy is top of mind for Barberton school leaders, parents and kids.

The Barberton City School District is proactive when it comes to preventing school violence. It conducts multiple drills and trainings which teach students to look for warning signs.

The district performs active shooter drills, known as ALICE, at schools once or twice a year. Practicing for something so frightening has become a sad reality.

"When I go to school, I feel safe, but now all these things are happening, it's like we don't feel safe anymore, like we're afraid to come to school, and I don't thing that should be happening like that," said Taylor Stinnett, a senior at Barberton High School.

School Resource Officer Marty Eberhart said Barberton is aggressive about getting kids involved and encouraging them to speak up.

"I look at other districts and I don't understand how they don't implement that training," Eberhart said. "We know we can't stop everything, but educate our kids. Educate the parents. This is what to look for. These are the signs."

Students also take part in Sandy Hook Promise trainings which teach them the warning signs of someone who could turn violent or be suicidal. The program also stresses that students should reach out to a classmate who may be experiencing trouble in his or her life.

"I think the best thing to do is go ahead, go up to him or her, 'Is there anything I can help you with? How are you doing?' Something like that, just the small things like that can make a difference," said Adam Wood, a senior at the high school.

The training paid off last school year. Three boys used social media to post a threat of a school shooting at the high school. About 200 of the school's 1,300 students showed up for school the next day.

Other Barberton students saw the post, alerted police and shared screen shots of the threat. Three students were arrested on felony charges.

In addition, the district monitors the school computer accounts of students and flags searches like "mass shootings" or "guns."

The district's website allows parents and students to send in tips of bullying or threats of violence.

High school senior Zane Ries is glad there are so many preventative measures in place.

"If you see something, just tell somebody. It never hurts to tell. If you let it go and then something like what happened in Florida does happen, you'll kind of have some guilt," Ries said.