Editorial: Incident shows the challenges in school safety
As West Virginia begins to put a new focus on education and student performance, it would be nice if reading and math were all schools needed to worry about.
But an incident at Huntington High last week shows that national concerns about safety and security in schools are very real, and these are not just problems that happen somewhere else.
A 15-year-old boy, who had been suspended from the school, entered the school building with a small-caliber handgun. Fortunately, he left soon after and was later apprehended by Huntington Police. No one was threatened, and no shots were fired. The teen was charged as a juvenile with carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon at an educational facility.
With a large campus and more than a thousand students, it is easy to see how such an incident could occur. However, school officials will be looking at how to improve communications with staff about students who should not be allowed on campus. As the investigation continues, it would be good for officials and the public to have some idea of what the student's intentions were.
On the positive side, it was encouraging to see that other students who saw the gun alerted officials and helped get the investigation started.
Earlier in the week, school officials and law enforcement from around the state gathered to discuss school safety in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Most agreed that much needs to be done to improve restrictions on access to buildings and develop plans for an "active shooter" incident.
The incident at Huntington High is a reminder of how important those efforts will be.