Local News

Recent School Shootings Have Local Lawmen On Standby

Posted October 3, 2006

— With the nation reeling from several fatal deadly school shootings, officials in North Carolina and local law enforcement hope to prevent a tragedy from happening closer to home.

Sgt. Dave Rohrbach with the Wake County Sheriff's Department sent an e-mail to his 18 school resource officers Tuesday morning on the heels of the Pennsylvania shooting, reminding them to make sure they stop and question all unfamiliar people on school property.

"If you see someone here that doesn't belong here or you don't know, contact the SRO. Let them know we have someone on campus that we need to find out why they're here," he said.

One day after a deadly school shooting in Pennsylvania, administrators at Raleigh's Sanderson High School found a gun in a student's book bag.

"You know, like you hear on TV, they're going on shooting sprees, shooting people at random, so I don't know (what to think)," Sanderson parent Michelle Bridges said.

School administrators said another student told them the teen with the gun made strange comments. They said this is exactly the type of communication between students and administrators that can prevent tragedies.

"If they feel comfortable being able to talk to an adult to give us a tip or share some information, we can take it from there, and oftentimes those are the things that avert problems," Wake County Schools spokesman Michael Evans said.

"We learn from each of these events that occur in the country, and we are proactive here," Rohrbach said. "We take what we learn and we apply it here to make our schools much safer."

But parents said that even with more vigilance from law enforcement, it's still hard to send children to school in today's unsettled world.

"It's scary," Bridges said. "You have to pray before you send them off to school in the morning. You never know what's going to happen."

State education leaders said security issues can't be knee-jerk reactions to shootings across the country. Instead, the state always works to fine-tune security measures.

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