A 20-year-old man from Newtown, Conn., woke up Friday, Dec. 14, and started the day by shooting and killing his mother.
He then gathered at least two handguns and a military style assault rifle, and drove to the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
At about 9:35 am, he entered the school and murdered 20 children between six and seven years old, along with six adults.
He shot himself when police arrived.
The day before the shootings in Connecticut, Joe Long, interim superintendent of the Archbold Area School District, met with school administrators and guidance counselors to go over their emergency plan.
About two years ago, probably before the 20 children killed were kindergarteners, a “buzz-in” system was installed at all three Archbold schools.
When school starts, all doors are locked.
The day the first two children were laid to rest, Monday, Dec. 17, Long told members of the Archbold Area School Board the district is “ahead of the curve” on security and safety precautions.
Sandy Hook Elementary had at least two things in common with Archbold– the buzz-in system for the front door, and a procedure to “lock down” the schools.
Steve Switzer, Pettisville Local School District superintendent, said Pettisville’s new school building has a security plan in place, and all visitors must pass through the school office before entering the school.
Pettisville students also practice the lockdown procedure. There was a lockdown drill about two weeks ago.
Long said Archbold students can expect another lockdown drill “sooner rather than later.”
Under lockdown, the superintendents said students go to a corner of their room away from the windows, and away from the door. The lights are turned off, the window in the door is covered, and the door is locked.
“The idea is to be invisible,” Switzer explained.
One story that came from Sandy Hook was that when police came to one classroom door, the teacher refused to open it until the officer slid his badge underneath.
Teachers are told not to respond to a knock at the door, Long said.
Archbold’s buzz-in system requires that visitors must push a button, sounding a buzzer in the school office. The visitor is then viewed through a video camera.
If recognized, the door is unlocked from the office.
If not, the person must show proper credentials before entering the school.
It was installed through a grant obtained by the Archbold Police Department.
Long told the school board the system is in use at the elementary and middle schools, and will soon be in operation at the high school.
“I hope people understand the inconvenience,” Long said.
But Sandy Hook had the same system. The gunman simply used his assault rifle as a buzz saw, shooting out the glass in the front doors to gain access.
“You can’t fool yourself,” Long said.
“You can’t absolutely stop someone who is determined to get in.
“But the more systems you have in place, the more you can delay him, the longer, the better. It gives people more time to react.”
There will be lessons learned from the Sandy Hook shootings.
In fact, Long speculated companies dealing specifi- cally in security measures for that type of incident will be formed.
But Switzer said, “It’s not that simple.
“You can look at school security, everything we have and more; I don’t know if lessons learned will take care of things.”
Long said Monday morning, he went to the elementary school.
“I had some anxiety, but once in the building, seeing everything was normal, that all went away,” he said.
“I would feel secure bringing my grandkids to attend school here.”