By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — LYNDONVILLE — In a nightmare scenario the actions of school staff play a major role in preventing even larger tragedies.
Schools like Lyndonville are not designed to be fortresses, State Police Emergency Manager Tom Kelly told teachers Wednesday, they are hubs of the community.
A presentation given by Kelly and State Police Schools and Community Outreach Coordinator John Campanella to Lyndonville’s teachers explained how calm, smart responses to the worst that humanity and nature can offer will save lives.
The presentation updated staff on what LCSD has planned for a lockout, lockdown, evacuation or shelter in place scenario.
It also addressed the realities of events like last year’s mass shooting a Connecticut elementary school. Campanella said that districts are reviewing their plans to make sure they can adequate keep as many children safe as possible in that kind of tragedy.
The best thing teachers can do is secure their classroom and create the type of simple barrier — a locked door that prevent a gunman or other threat from reaching their intended goal.
“Inconveniencing a threat is better than dealing with it face to face,” Kelly said.
“There’s no perfect plan,” Campanella said. “There’s a reason you’re doing all this stuff ... it takes up time. The response is so much closer.”
Law enforcements officials have traveled across the state to speak with school staff and organized safety drills, like a Orleans County Sheriff’s Office lockdown drill at Lyndonville in January.
High School Principal Aaron Slack said that Lyndonville received positive feedback after the drill, due to the actions of staff.
“Every plan depends on the situational awareness of the staff,” Slack said. “(Teachers) ensured that students remained calm and comfortable.”
Kelly said that Lyndonville and other local schools are well-prepared for disasters. He hopes that the safety plans developed by Orleans-Niagara BOCES for local schools are accepted state-wide.