Class was back in session for Fayetteville students today, and the Connecticut elementary school shooting Dec. 14 that killed 20 children is still fresh in local school officials’ minds.
After the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, many schools across the nation have added security measures as kids return to school. But Fayetteville administrators chose not to add additional security.
“There is a heightened sense of alertness, certainly, given what’s taken place, but we felt like our job today on the first day back for the spring semester was to make it as normal a day of school as possible for the students.”
The Fayetteville School District has had emergency plans for potential disasters in place since the Columbine school shooting of 1999. School officials said the plans aren’t set in stone.
“They’re carefully coordinated with the Fayetteville Police Department, and every year we work with them to see if we can pull best practices from other school districts and other police departments from around the country and things that other people have learned sometimes the hard way.”
School officials and pundits alike across the country have suggested what they say are the best ways to protect students. One of the many proposals is to arm teachers, but Wilbourn said not just any teacher should be allowed to have guns in schools.
“We’ll have to wait and see what comes out of the legislature. You hear there are some various discussions about who would be armed,” Wilbourn said. “We would want to make sure that is a certified trained professional, not just someone who managed to go get a carry permit.”
Wilbourn said Fayetteville students’ first day back in school went smoothly, but added school officials must remain vigilant.
“You look around, there are a lot more adults around in the hall and paying attention and watching and those type of things,” he said. “So there is that heightened sense of alertness on the part of the staff. For the students, hopefully they felt like it was just another day of school.”
Administrators’ goal is to keep it that way.