San Bernardino police confirmed one child and two adults died after a murder-suicide at an elementary school Monday morning. In Missouri, ABC 17 News asked school leaders how their districts were responding to the deadly California shooting and if any security changes were being made.
“It’s a good reminder for us across the district that things happen and we need to prepare accordingly,” said Jefferson City Public Schools superintendent Larry Linthacum. “You don’t take things for granted. Give hugs to your kids tonight.”
“Obviously, from a school board member perspective, it causes all of us to want to closely evaluate our protocols for safety and security to make sure that this sort of thing doesn’t affect the families who trust us with their children,” said Columbia Public Schools board member Helen Wade.
According to police, Special Needs teacher Karen Elaine Smith was shot and killed by her husband while she was teaching a classroom of 15 students with two teacher aides. Her husband, Cedric Anderson, turned the large-caliber revolver on himself after killing his wife. Anderson also died in the classroom.
“There (were) two students in the classroom that were behind the teacher that were struck by gunfire,” said San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan.
One of those students, 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez, died at the hospital. The other student, a 9-year-old, is expected to recover.
Wade believes CPS has good security measures in place if the unthinkable were to happen.
“The administrative office lays eyes on a person before they come into the building,” said Wade “You buzz your way in and that is one of the ways that we make sure that the people who are coming into our schools, who are going to be around our students or physically on our premises, are supposed to be there.”
If a dangerous person did get through the door, faculty and staff are prepared through ongoing training.
“Our teachers and our staff and our administration are prepared to deal with it and keeping them in that state of preparedness is really important to our district,” said Wade.
Linthacum agrees that keeping safety measures in place and ensuring that students feel comfortable in the classroom is key.
“Our students need to feel safe. Parents need to feel that we have a safe learning environment,” said Linthacum. “Teachers can have the greatest lessons in the world, but if a kid doesn’t feel safe when they come to school, that lesson’s probably not going to sink in.”