Active-shooter drills advised for W.Va. schools - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Active-shooter drills advised for W.Va. schools

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Southern West Virginia's top federal prosecutor says all schools should practice responding to an attack by a gunman as part of their planning for guarding against violence.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin outlined that recommendation and others Tuesday at a Charleston conference. The measures come from a report that draws on a school safety summit held in February.

Besides annual active-shooter drills, the report advises shatter-resistant windows and a single and locked entry point. It also recommends anti-bullying programs and a Prevention Resource Officer Corps that can provide active and retired law enforcement and veterans to schools.

West Virginia schools officials are already pursuing such steps. The topic has gotten a closer look since the December massacre of 20 first-graders and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school.

View the complete Safe Schools report

Following is the full news release from Goodwin's office on the report:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – United States Attorney Booth Goodwin today unveiled a comprehensive report and a set of recommendations resulting from the Summit on West Virginia Safe Schools that was held in February. The report was officially announced during the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools 2013 KidStrong Conference held today at the Charleston Civic Center. 

Goodwin convened the statewide Summit on Feb 6, 2013. It brought together educators, law enforcement professionals, parents, mental health professionals, government officials and students to exchange ideas and develop practical steps to prevent and prepare for school violence. 

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said, "Last December's horrific mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was an unthinkable national tragedy. It was also an urgent call to action on the issue of school safety."

"This report summarizes the Summit's most critical lessons. It begins with an immediate agenda for West Virginia safe schools: ten things that we must get to work on right now if we want to make our schools safer," Goodwin said.

"We owe it to our children and our educators to do everything in our power to keep our schools safe. Anything less is unacceptable," Goodwin continued.

The report features an agenda of ten items for preparedness and response that should be implemented as soon as possible: 1) Establish a single, locked point of entry for every school, where a school official can see and identify would-be visitors before they enter. 2) Install classroom doors that lock quickly from inside the classroom – or keep doors locked all the time. 3) Install emergency buttons that sound a school-wide alarm and automatically call the police. 4) Explore the use of shatter-resistant materials on glass windows and door panels in schools (a requirement that the West Virginia School Building Authority recently adopted for all new schools built in the state). 5) Establish a Prevention Resource Officer Corps to place more law enforcement officers---including retired police officers and military veterans---in schools as prevention resource officers. 6) Bring together local police and educators to develop closer ties between law enforcement and schools. 7) Conduct active-shooter drills in every school at least annually, with full participation from law enforcement. 8) Develop a statewide program to identify potentially violent students early and intervene immediately. 9) Introduce a proven anti-bullying program in every school. 10) Implement a communication system to immediately disseminate information about violent or disruptive incidents to parents, other schools and child care facilities.  

The report also features a section that focuses on preventing violence. The report's prevention strategies include developing a concerted effort to address bullying; identifying and intervening with troubled children early; placing a greater emphasis on school climate; developing a system to comprehensively collect information about students with behavior issues; and expanding the number and role of school counselors and prevention resource officers.    

In addition to unveiling the school safety report, Goodwin debuted a newly created video on prescription drug abuse. The video, developed through a partnership between the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia and the Huntington Police Department, and funded by a grant from the West Virginia Division of Justice and Community Services, is designed as an educational tool for young people to illustrate the harmful effects of abusing prescription drugs. 

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