BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Here in Illinois, Tuesday’s massacre in Uvale, Texas that left 21 dead at an elementary school has local school districts re-examining their own safety protocols.
Several local school districts like McLean County Unit 5 and Bloomington District 87 had extra resources on hand Wednesday.
Both districts reported smooth school days with no disruptions but were prepared to handle any emotions that may overcome students and staff.
“As an educator, it definitely hurts your heart for the school impacted anytime this happens,” said McLean County Unit 5 Superintendent Kristen Weikle.
Weikle and District 87 Superintendent Dr. Barry Reilly said they prepare for students and staff to be concerned about any traumatic incidents, including school shootings. Reilly said in D87, services are for students and staff alike.
“Our own professionals whether it be a school social worker, a counselor, a psychologist, they are at the ready,” Reilly said.
Those talks vary from student to student, as well as age and cognitive level.
“We don’t want to cause anything to cause any anxiety or unknown worry, but we still want to support them and answer their questions,” Weikle said.
Both Weikle and Reilly said these incidents make them think more about their security practices; which already include buzzer doors, one point of entry, and school resource officers at junior high and high schools.
“See if there’s something that we can learn from a situation that’s occurred elsewhere in order to improve whatever it is that we do,” Weikle said.
“We always have folks that want us to do more; build schools like fortresses to almost guarantee that everyone is going to be safe and that’s just not realistic,” Reilly said.
Reilly says in his district principals were roaming throughout the building more than usual on Wednesday.
“Checking in on classrooms, checking with staff members if they need anything or any assistance in any way,” Reilly said.
Reilly also said patrolling the schools is not related specifically to Uvalde, but they’re upgrading their video cameras at doors and implementing a raptor system. This allows them to track visitors closely and gives them background checks almost instantly with a person’s driver’s license.