It will never happen here. That's what most would like to think.
But in today's world, school districts across the country have to prepare for the worst.
According to Education Week magazine, there were 24 school shootings in which people were injured or killed across the U.S. in 2018. Of the 35 people who died, 27 were killed in mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe High School in Sante Fe, Texas.
Of the 24 school shootings, 18 were at high schools.
The safety of the students is always at the forefront of the minds of educators, administrators and school boards. That's one of the reasons Blair Community Schools is considering relocating the Blair High School offices closer to the main south entrance and creating a more secure entry.
The district's plan would use existing classroom space to create new offices for the principal, assistant principal, athletic director, secretaries and the school resource officer.
Supt. Randy Gilson told the Enterprise that moving the offices would create a safer entrance, similar to that in a new building. He likened it to the entrance at Deerfield Primary School, where visitors are buzzed in the first door, but must go into the office where they check in before entering the building.
“When we buzz people into the (high school) building, they don't have direct access to the office,” Gilson said. “It's a safety issue. Once they are in the building, they could go any direction. This would have a visible, physical presence at the front door.”
The district's plan to move the offices was initially included in a 2016 bond issue. But when that bond issue failed, the plan was removed due to cost. At the time, it was estimated to cost $2.1 million to construct new offices and repurpose the existing offices into special education classrooms.
Under the district's new plan, the cost to remodel an existing classroom for the office space is estimated at $140,000, which will be money well spent.
Parents shouldn't have to worry about their children as they send them off to school. Will this be the day something happens? Will someone walk into my child's school with a gun?
A more secure entrance will give all parents peace of mind that their child is safe while receiving their education.