But he syas no security plan in place is foolproof.
Frederick, Md (KM). If you’re a student, teacher, or other school system employee, and you see something suspicious or out of the ordinary, report it. That’s the advice of Board of Education President Brad Young.
In an appearance last weekend on “Success Happens” with Jen Charlton on WFMD, Young said anyone who comes forward will be protected for retribution. “And I think our schools do a good job of that of making kids feel comfortable, that they can share information, and that it will be confidential and it will be handled. And that is important that the kid feels safe,” he says.
In March, 2017, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office received word of a student at Catoctin High School who was planning a mass shooting at the school. Nicole Cevario, 18, of Thurmont is charged with explosives-related offenses. Investigators obtained a search warrant of Cevario’s home, and found a shotgun with ammunition, and bomb making materials such as pipes with end caps, shrapnel, fireworks, magnesium tape and fuse material. Detectives learned from her diary that Cevario was planning the mass shooting for April 5th, 2017, and that she was going to die that day.
Young said a number of measures are in place to keep the students, teachers and other staff safe while they’re in school. “During the day, every school now has a buzz-in procedure. So when you go to that school, you cannot simply walk into the building. You need to be buzzed in by the front office, sign in and be acheck into before you go into the school,” he says.
In addition, each school has an emergency plan for every type of emergency, such as a shooting, fire, earthquake or weather-related incidents such as a storm or a tornado. There is a sheriff’s deputy who serves as a school resource officer for every high school feeder area.
But no plan is fool proof when it comes to school building emergencies. “There’s no way you can insure something like that doesn’t happen,” says Young. “What you can do is to take every step that you can to make sure that the odds of that happening are not as great.”
None of the schools has a metal detector at the front door. But Young says intruders don’t necessarily come in through the front door. “For instance, Walkersville High School where my daughters went, we could put metal detectors in the front of the school, and everybody who went through them would be checked. But there are another 70 doors on that school where somebody could gain entry,” he says.
In addition, Young says, metal detectors don’t detect everything. “As we have seen in the airports, they’re not 100% effective. There are things that go through them that don’t get detected,” he says. “If somebody’s intent on doing something, they would get into the building another way. It makes you feel better. I don’t think it actually ,makes you any safer.”
Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut in December, 2012, there have been calls for teaches and school administrators to be armed to guard against something like that from happening again. Young says he has mixed feelings on this issue. “Whether or not having a principle or a teacher having a weapon somewhere, it may help in certain circumstances. I’m not convinced it would stop any incident from happening, but it could potentially help in certain circumstances,” he says.
While schools are as safe as humanly possible, Young says it’s still important for anyone, students, teachers and school system employees to speak up if something is suspicious or out of the ordinary. “Awareness of your surrounding and what is going on is ever more important today than ever. So paying attention” Young says. “And when something doesn’t look right, feeling comfortable to come forward and say something.”
By Kevin McManus