"We have emergency drills several times a year. And I believe those drills prepared us for what happened yesterday," Becky Brown said.
Harry Rhulen, CEO of Firestone Solutions, says drills are just one way that schools can be prepared for unfortunate incidents like the shooting that occurred at Deer Creek Middle School on Tuesday.
"Currently the schools do a lot of lockdown training... but there are many more steps that can get taken," Rhulen said.
His company specializes in identifying and predicting risks for schools, businesses and industries. They worked with Virginia Tech officials after a shooting on that campus in 2007.
"We all think it's not going to happen to us. It's not going to happen here... And therefore, we don't have our antenna up," he said.
He says the first step to predicting and responding to a dangerous situation is to train students and staff on how to recognize something strange.
"This is as simple as, don't open the door for someone you don't know," he said, adding that - for virtually no cost - schools can lock unsecure doors to outside access and post signs that direct visitors to go to the main entrance.
It is a policy that many schools already do use.
According to reports, the alleged attacker in the Deer Creek Middle School shooting checked in at the front office. That process, too, can be more secure according to Rhulen.
"When somebody does sign in for a visitor's pass and we check their ID, we should have the ability as a school to enter that into a computer and when it pops up and says this guy is a convicted felon, we should be able to dial 911 just by pushing a button so the receptionist doesn't have to take a risk. But now the police are on notice that there's a violent felon on school property," he said.
Rhulen acknowledges, though, that systems of that magnitude, which could cover multiple schools, can cost a school system tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Firestorm workers have studied school attacks dating as far back as 1927, when a disgruntled school board member detonated several explosives at a school in Bath, Michigan. Forty-five people were killed.
"I think it's important for everyone to understand that school violence has been taking place pretty much for forever," he said, adding that attackers often target schools because of the relatively easy access. "Schools draw people in because they're looking for an easy target."
He says students and teachers can respond to or predict danger best when they feel confident in reporting suspicious activity via a reliable system.
"When an individual is cruising the parking lot or is in-and-out of a particular school, rarely does someone say, 'This is odd to me. I think I need to do something about it,'" Rhulen said.
Despite all of these precautions, Rhulen says no school can be 100 percent protected.
"That's unrealistic," he said.
But he thinks that every time a school attack occurs schools improve their own security plans.
"Whether you could have prevented it is difficult to say," Rhulen said, "but learning from it and building a better system, there's no question we can do that."
Jeffco Schools says its policies regarding security and school visitors are all online.
The ECAB security/access policy is at: http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/0/465E7C05BFA63D3D8525733100622B15?OpenDocument.
The ECAB - regulation policy is at: https://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/cca18a640d445b5585256e7400431d4e/e1004e63ec0b0b088525733a0006aae5?OpenDocument.
The KI - visitor to schools policy is at: http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/0/83A2CABD6AD330A885257338005EE2B1?OpenDocument.
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