Wayzata School District Works to Protect Against Active Shooters
Local School Districts Prepare for Worst-Case Shooting Scenarios
The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., is raising questions and concerns about security plans at schools across the nation. But some local school districts, like Wayzata, have been preparing for worst-case scenarios for decades.
At North Woods Elementary in Plymouth, it’s standard practice for all doors and entrances to be locked. When visitors come to the building, they’re buzzed in to the main office, where drivers licenses are swiped and background checks are completed.
Kristin Tollison, director of administrative services for the Wayzata School District, says safety is top priority.
“Unfortunately, they have to be. They have to be balanced with a positive learning environment but yes, they are designed with student safety and security in mind,” Tollison said.
Tollison has been with the district for 27 years and experienced the rapid security changes over the decades.
“The biggest change came after Columbine and the study at Columbine where we started to realize the traditional lock downs and hiding in classrooms and staying put was not the most effective way to preserve life.”
She says option-based responses are necessary.
“We have put this in the front of our work for years,” she said.
All security plans are built with active shooter situations in mind.
At North Woods, staff IDs are printed out with four emergency procedures — 1) evacuate, 2) reverse evacuate which brings students in from outside 3) lock out and 4) enhanced response, which is run, hide or fight.
There have been 27 school shootings in America so far this year. Tollison says the terrifying reality takes a toll.
“You have all these competing feelings of why, what would I do? Is this why I’m a teacher? Is this why I’m an educator?”
With safety drills and preparations, teachers at the school are armed with knowledge.
“You still have to put it all in perspective because you have to be in front of 25 children and help them facilitate their feelings,” Tollison said.
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