On the morning of December 14, a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Conn. and killed 26 individuals, 20 being children, after shooting his mother at her home. This horrific event has garnered questions on school safety. Local school officials along with police are constantly updating their plans and procedures when dealing with an event such as this one. The plans and procedures set forth a cooperative effort between the schools and the Boonville Police Department.
Superintendent of the Boonville R-1 School District Mark Ficken said what happened in Newtown is very sad.
"It was a senseless crime committed against children that is unexplainable," Ficken said.
Principal of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School Alan Lammers said the school is praying for the families and victims of the school shooting.
"We prayed Friday and today for all those affected by the events in Newtown and we will continue to pray for them in the weeks ahead," Lammers said.
The Boonville R-1 School District makes sure the students know what to do in case of an emergency.
Ficken said at the beginning of each school year and once in the spring the district holds drills in each building for intruders along with fire, tornado and earthquake.
"The district has a crisis action manual that includes policies to be followed in any of these types of emergencies," Ficken said.
"We have had policies and procedures in place already for a number of years. All doors are locked during the school day and all visitors must be admitted to the building through a buzzer system. We have received a lot of support from parents and the community at large for keeping the building secure at all times. The inconvenience is minor when compared to the safety of children," Lammers said.
Boonville area schools say they are constantly reviewing their procedures.
Ficken said the policies have not changed in the past but they will certainly will be reviewing the day to day procedures as far as visitors to each of the buildings.
"Our security procedures and policies are under continual review and it is a frequent topic at diocesan principal's meetings," Lammers said.
The policies in place include a cooperative effort with the Boonville Police Department as well.
"We are currently in the process of updating our plans and are scheduling a meeting with emergency responders and the school personnel. We have a mutual aid agreement with all law enforcement and emergency personnel in the state of Missouri which we would implement if something like what happened in Newtown occurs. All local law enforcement and emergency management agencies including the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Cooper County Sheriff's Department, Cooper County Emergency Operations, Cooper County Ambulance Service, Boonville Fire Department, Cooper County Fire Department and the Boonville Police Department would make the initial response and set up a command post and law enforcement would enter the building to start assisting the persons inside and stop the shooter. The initial law enforcement officers on the scene would make immediate entry upon their arrival," Boonville Police Chief Bobby Welliver said.