Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Has shooting changed school security?

by Steve Targo

December 20, 2012

“There are things that have been in place and hopefully we never have to use them.”

There’s also a security protocol.

At Traver, the doors are locked during the day.

To enter through the main entrance, people have to travel through the main office and sign in.

But is that enough?

“That works for the majority of things that might be problematic, but everybody’s got glass doors,” Collins said.

There’s always a flaw, a chink in the armor, and if someone is determined enough, they might exploit it.

“That can be done everywhere, unfortunately,” Collins said.

However, at Traver, officials are talking more to Linn police officers now since Dec. 14.

“We have been in contact with the Linn police department, just dialoguing with them about (the shooting),” Collins said. “I know they’re going to increase their presence at the schools in Linn Township.”

Too much?

Some worry the amount of media coverage was so excessive that it may inspire copycats.

On Monday, Reek Administrator Joe Zirngibl said a caller raised that question to ABC News journalist George Stephanopoulos.

Zirngibl provided some observations on media coverage of the tragic shooting.

He said it’s a “fine balancing act” between informing the public and doing more harm than good.

“I think at times, if you take a look at the broadcasts over the weekend, there were probably on average six to eight hours of coverage, and a lot of the information may not have been accurate,” Zirngibl said. “Are we really helping those people who are looking for attention to do the same thing (as the shooter)?”

He discussed some of the errors he believes the media made covering the tragedy.

Zirngibl said reporters originally had the wrong identity of the shooter and erroneously reported that the shooter’s mother worked at the school.

“I think it creates a lot of panic,” he said. “The news media may be sensationalizing things to get ratings, versus helping the children of our country feel safe. ... These are important factors that can make a difference in how students and parents feel about school.”

According to Zirngibl, most of the parents who contacted him after the tragedy expressed the belief that they feel Reek does the best job possible to keep children safe.

One parent provided them with a list of links, including one from the American Psychiatric Association, on how to talk to children about a tragedy such as the one that occurred Dec. 14.

Zirngibl also discussed some of what they do at Reek for security.

“We run lock down drills so that the students know what to do, in case we have to lock down the school because of a threat in the area,” he said.

Linn police also have increased patrols of the school area, Zirngibl said.

Police usually have an officer in a squad car at the school during the start and end of every school day.

“We have a crisis plan in place that we try to review often, to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to make sure the students are safe,” Zirngibl said.