School security top-of-mind at Union City schools

Local News

With school shootings on the rise, security is a top priority for teachers and administrators.

When you drop your children off at school, your expectation is that they’ll be safe throughout the day.  But, with one tragedy after another, protecting students becomes a more complicated and urgent challenge.

School Resource Officer Steve Oler walks the halls at Union City High School with one mission; to keep students and faculty safe.  So if and when an emergency strikes, he’s the building’s first line of defense. 

“It’s an important job. You do think about it, but it’s something somebody needs to do and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

And, Oler wants others to be a part of it too. That’s why he invited teachers, administrators and law enforcement officers to sit in on a specialized lecture with national school safety expert Dave Grossman. 

Matthew Bennett, Union City Area Schools Superintendent says, “It’s always a good time to talk about school security, and when you bring in someone the caliber of Lt. Col. Grossman, it can only help your school district.” 

Participants say the strong turnout shows a better understanding of the need to protect soft targets.

Les Fetterman, Director of Safety at Gannon University, says, “I’m angry that we have to live in a society that we have to prepare for this and schools, universities, businesses really are the safest place to be but we can’t be in a state of denial either because it can happen. We have to prepare like it’s going to happen.” 

And, experts say in some cases, just a small change can be the difference between life and death.

Grossman says, “The killer is looking for that weak link and we need to be there at that critical moment with someone that can shoot back. So, no-gun zone, a strictly enforced dress code costs nothing. Random use of metal detectors essentially cost nothing. If you want to keep guns out of schools, if we truly believe in no gun zones, these are simple things we could be doing right now.” 

Grossman is the author of ‘On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society’.  The book is an analysis of the psychological processes involved in killing another human being.

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