Dougherty leaders say schools are safe - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty leaders say schools are safe

October 10, 2007

Albany--  It's a frightening occurrence that makes headlines all too often--a school shooting. It happened again Wednesday in Cleveland, Ohio leaving five people injured and the young gunman dead. Many parents may wonder--could that happen here?

Just after 1 Wednesday afternoon, a violent disturbance at SuccessTech High School in Cleveland. Two teachers and two students are wounded after a 14-year-old went on a shooting rampage.

"It's disappointing, disappointing," said Monroe High School Principal Deloris Spears.

Spears heard the news late Wednesday afternoon. Even miles away, it strikes a chord. "A safe and orderly environment is the foundation for learning," said Spears.

The 14-year-old shooter was recently suspended from school but returned with weapons. Principal Spears says measures are in place to prevent weapons from coming through Monroe's doors.

"We believe in a safe and orderly environment and daily we use metal detectors at the door to check bookbags," said Spears. Along with metal detectors, random checks are conducted on lockers. Two School Resource Officers are also always on duty to help out with any potential threat to safety.

"They're visible. They help monitor. We call on them when there is a need," said Spears. Officers are on duty at all four Dougherty County high schools and middle schools. They are also on call if needed at elementary schools. Spears hopes they're never needed for something like what happened in Ohio.

"Students have to feel safe. Parents must believe that their children are safe," said Spears.

The safe feel of a classroom was broken in Cleveland, a feeling no one wants to experience.

The two teachers and two students who were shot are expected to be okay. Another student hurt her knee as she ran from the building. The 14-year-old gunman was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  

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