(WKBN) — Wednesday, Dec. 14, marks 10 years since the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, and schools across the county — and in the Valley — have taken steps to make improvements in safety.
On Dec. 14, 2012, 20-students and six of their teachers were killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It remains the worst grade-school shooting in U.S. history.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said since then, Ohio has spent millions to improve school safety and work with local law enforcement.
“We’re committed to being a good partner and providing the tools that we need to take this relatively small number of people who are using guns for criminal acts off the streets and prosecuting them to the full extent of the law,” Yost said.
In the Valley, several school districts shared how they’ve added precautionary procedures to keep their students safe.
“I think the biggest thing we work on is trying to be proactive,” said Jackson Milton superintendent Kirk Baker.
Since the the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, there have been over 4,000 mass shootings in the United States.
Baker said it’s important to learn from the past, though the circumstances make it unfortunate.
“We’re constantly, like I said, looking at ways we can train the staff and work with the kids on things,” Baker said. “We’re always doing drills to make sure, and the drills vary, too, so it’s not the same drill all the time.”
Baker said having school resource officers is an important way to stay proactive.
“They’re actually going into classrooms and talking and being visible, so the kids actually know they can go up and talk to him and not be afraid of the police officer,” Baker said.
Tyce Gall is the Niles City Schools resource officer. He said the Niles school district has also taken multiple precautions to keep its students safe.
“I had the opportunity to come into the schools and work with the youth,” Gall said. “I feel like I’ve made a lot of connections, and I’ve possibly changed some lives.”
The details on the school’s doors are a great way to show school spirit and keep the kids safe. From the inside, you can see out, but from the outside, you can’t see in. This keeps intruders from looking in and knowing how many kids are in classrooms. Some of the doors also have a protective film that keeps the glass from shattering.
“We refer to it as ballistic film. It stops the glass from spider-webbing and completely dropping out of the window. It will hold it together and give law enforcement a greater amount of time to respond,” Gall said.
All of the schools also have weapons detectors at the doors that students have to walk through.
“Large metal items, firearms, things of that nature — it’ll alert,” Gall said.
Jackson Milton and Niles school districts said they have advanced check-in procedures to make sure the building stays secure.