Warren County Sheriff’s office to increase presence Friday at Skyline High School
The Warren SentinelFRONT ROYAL – The Warren County Sheriff's Office will have an increased presence Friday at Skyline High School in response to rumors that a shooting was being planned there.
Skyline Principal Andrew Keller confirmed on Wednesday that school officials have investigated the rumors and found them to be unsubstantiated, but asked the Sheriff's Office for additional coverage on Friday as a precautionary measure.
The move comes on the heels of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn., in which 26 people were killed, including 20 children.
Warren County Schools Superintendent Pamela McInnis said Monday that schools here won't make any immediate changes in light of last week's massacre.
“As the Connecticut investigation goes on and we find out more of what took place, there may be things we can learn from that situation that will change our procedures as well, but I don't know that for sure,” McInnis said.
In Warren County, the middle school and high schools have an armed sheriff's deputy on-site full-time.
The front doors at the county's five elementary schools remain locked during school hours and visitors must ring a buzzer before entering. While the elementary schools do not have full-time school resource officers, a couple of sheriff's deputies take turns visiting the different schools, McInnis said.
All school employees receive training on how to handle crisis situations during scheduled lockdown exercises and drills.
McInnis said school officials always have safety in mind, but that there are no guarantees that an incident like the one that took place in Newtown can be prevented anywhere.
“I think what (the Newtown shootings) does is, it reminds us, we have many things in place, as did the people in Connecticut, and we pay attention to security, but when something like this happens, it just makes us think about it again,” McInnis said. “The bottom line is, we do absolutely everything we can do, but there are no 100 percent guarantees. Our goal is certainly to keep our children and staff safe, but if any of us think we can totally prevent something like this from happening, we can't.”
McInnis said the school system planned to send parents information from the National Association of School Psychologists on helping children cope with national tragedies such as the school shooting in Connecticut.
The information states that adults should:
Model calm and control.
Reassure children that they are safe.
Remind them that trustworthy people are in charge.
Let children know that it is OK to feel upset.
Tell children the truth.
Stick to the facts.
Keep explanations developmentally appropriate.
Parents are advised to stick to normal daily routines with children, but not to be inflexible if children have a hard time concentrating or falling asleep at night.