A new take on safety

Andy Ouriel and Andy Ouriel

Local administrators are trying to prevent violence in their schools after a school shooting took place in Ohio earlier this month.

On Oct. 10, Success Tech Academy School in Cleveland was the latest educational facility to be involved in a gun shooting by a student. A 14-year-old student shot and injured two students and two teachers before he took his own life.

Although this was the first school shooting recorded in Ohio since 1996 and the closest in proximity to Bowling Green, many employed by school systems in Wood County are very aware of the situation.

Jeff Dever, principal of Bowling Green High School believes safety and protecting students is one of the most important aspects of his job.

“There is no higher priority than safety in our school,” Dever said.

Other schools in the area have the same mentality of keeping their students safe.

“We are constantly reviewing and meeting with the sheriff’s department and seeing if we can make improvements,” said Jim Garber, superintendent of Otsego Schools.

Even though these administrators want their students to be as safe as possible, they will not go to extremes with heightened security measures.

“As of the result in Cleveland, we have not resolved or changed anything,” Garber said.

Some schools, including Success Tech Academy, use metal detectors and more security measures to decrease the chance of weapons in schools. But Bowling Green and Otsego High Schools do not have a plan or budget to make any additions.

Trresa Harvey, who graduated from Success Tech Academy, was shocked to learn what happened at the school.

Harvey felt as if the school was a second home to her and said the environment seemed very safe. But even though the academy and many other schools seem safe, violence can happen anywhere.

“It can happen anywhere and Bowling Green is no exception,” Harvey said. “It is just something we don’t think about.”

Even with one of the most prolific school shootings in American history at Columbine High School in 1999, there seems to be no end in sight with 28 shootings occurring in schools, 16 of them in high schools since the time of Columbine.

Earlier this year, a student at Virginia Tech murdered more than 30 students, making it the deadliest killing spree in school shooting history.

No one answer can completely stop school shootings, but there are partial solutions to the problem.

One way, Dever said, is to have stiffer penalties in the justice system.

“You didn’t have this thing 50 years ago with the frequency,” Dever said. “School shootings and violence is on the upswing [as] statistics show and it has to be top down with stiffer penalties for people who do that.”

But even if there were more severe consequences, many of the shooters end up killing themselves after they have taken other people’s lives.

Students with potential to commit this type of crime have to be recognized earlier and need a voice telling them to change their ways, Garber said.

“Communication is the key thread,” Garber said. “In a matter of being aware of problems, communication is very vital.”

By talking to others, people can express how they feel and the appropriate mentors can help solve these problems.

Another solution to avoid disaster is to treat others with respect.

“In the Virginia Tech and Success Tech Academy shootings, both of the kids were picked on when they were younger, so its like leave people alone,” Harvey said. “Be nicer to people and have a common respect for everyone.”