Local schools react to PA student stabbings - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local schools react to PA student stabbings

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) - Local school officials watched with the rest of the country as emergency crews flocked to the Pennsylvania high school, where a student went on a stabbing spree Wednesday morning. They say they're surprised to see yet another violent scene unfold at a school and will use it as another learning experience to evaluate their own security measures.

"We are here to protect students and guarantee keeping them as safe as possible and when we can't do that, it weighs heavy on all educators," Director of Cleveland City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff said.

Ringstaff says it's jarring to see what happened in Pennsylvania Wednesday when a tenth grader stabbed 19 students.

"Anytime after a school tragedy we all sort of go back and look and see what if that happened here. What would we do. So we'll play to 'what if' game," Ringstaff said.

Nearly every school district in the Tennessee Valley spent the last year improving on security following the Sandy Hook tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of dollars was spent locally in upgrading doors, cameras and buzzer systems, adding school resource officers and training staff on how to react.

"We go through lots of trainings and lots of drills to make sure we do that to the utmost and I'm proud of what we do," Ringstaff said.

Wednesday's stabbings ended when a school security guard and assistant principal wrestled the 16-year-old to the ground.

"A lot of those you cannot control. If a student comes in with punishment in mid or come kind of negative activity, our job is to minimize it as quickly as possible," he said.

Some argue metal detectors could help prevent weapons from being carried onto school property. Only a few local schools have them, but most do have the metal detecting wands.

"We only have to have reasonable suspicion as administrators to search students and cars and book bags and everything else that's on school grounds," Ringstaff said.

Several local education and law enforcement officials say schools are still among the safest places to be, and they will continue to make them even safer.
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