Bowling Green Schools Crack Down On Emergency Plans

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- In 2013 there were 25 cases of school shootings in grades K-12 across the country. That's 14 more than in 2012.

Unfortunately, these events are becoming more common. That's why schools across the nation are developing safety plans to handle an active shooter incident in their school.

Sandy Hook Elementary, Sparks Middle, and Arapahoe High are just a few of many school shootings that happened in the last couple years. And already this year several schools have experienced the horrendous act.

"We are now slowly, but methodically allowing students to leave the school in groups. We are bringing them to a location that is directly east of where we're standing," said an Arapahoe Official.

Blair Thompson has been researching the communication side of active shooting crises across the U.S. and says schools must be prepared. Fortunately he also says Kentucky is a lot better prepared than many other states.

"School districts can never be fully prepared for these events because everyone is different. I would say in general from what I've learned, I think Kentucky is probably one of the better prepared states, and part is because they had an active shooting shooting tragedy in the early 90's, even pre Columbine that kind of put them on the forefront to do training and things like that," said Thompson a associate professor in the Department of Communication at Western Kentucky University.

To start the new year off right, Kentucky schools had to revamp their agendas.

"For all schools with districts within the state, they had to have updated plans sent in. So really what happened in Sandy Hook re-heightened awareness of this," said Thompson.

Bowling Green Schools say they are doing everything necessary and more to keep your little ones safe.

"We've invested resources into it and time into training staff and we have done everything that's been requested of us and a little bit more to try to make sure that we're doing everything that we should do to keep our kids safe," said Principal Michael Wix at Dishman McGinnis Elementary School.

Cynthia West says at her school they take drills extremely serious.

"We discuss with the students the consequences of misbehavior during drills. If students misbehave during drills then it's an automatic visit to our alternate suspension program. That's how serious we are about it," said Principal Cynthia West with Bowling Green Junior High.

While practicing drills is important, Bowling Green City Schools perform daily routines to prevent intruders such as having visitors sign in. Another thing the Bowling Green Schools believe is key, is having strong relationships with students.

"We want to make sure that every student has at least one adult in the building that they can go too. Not only for support and encouragement, but also if they have a problem or concern that could be a safety concern for themselves or for others. So building those relationships are just another way that we can make sure that we know what is going on in our schools," said Leslie Peek the Public Relations Coordinator with Bowling Green Schools.

Unfortunately these events are becoming more common across the nation, so it's best to be aware and prepared.

"This is a really important area for school districts and parents to think about because these are complex events and I think as we see what's happening just recently, unfortunately these types of events aren't going away, but the better we're prepared for them the better off we'll be in the long run," said Thompson.

Bowling Green Police work closely with the schools to make sure they have a copy of the school's plan and a map of the school. They too practice in case they get a 911 call regarding an active shooter.

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