WARSAW — School shootings remain on the tips of everyone’s tongues and Sheriff Rocky Goshert addressed the Kosciusko County Council Thursday night, March 8, in hopes of steering the conversation toward total safety in area schools.
Currently, schools in Kosciusko County have locked doors during school hours, which require communication with the front office before entry is granted. Goshert said a computer application for smart phones would make schools even safer and proactive in the event that an armed gunman was still able to gain access.
“It’s called Safe School, and it’s an app that would cost a little more than a penny a student,” Goshert said. “This is crucial for our kids.”
Goshert said the app would be available for educators and administrators as well as law enforcement. Essentially, the app would work like a radio system that would allow key players in an active shooter situation to give all those involved crucial information in order to make sound decisions in a shooting scenario.
According to Goshert, local schools have plans of action in place that give a lot of discretion to individual teachers should an intruder situation become a reality. The two most common strategies involve fleeing with the children or barricading in place. Goshert said either scenario could be deadly in the right instance. For example, if the shooter is located at the opposite end of a facility, the best scenario involves getting the students out of the building instead of barricading in place and giving the shooter future opportunity to do harm. If the shooter is right outside the door in the hallway, exiting the room to flee would almost certainly result in injury and death.
Goshert said the system gives three options to communicate — test, we have an intruder and I need help.
Goshert said the system lets everyone know the pertinent details of an active shooter scenario, most important being where the shooter is located in the building.
“The local schools are telling me that each teacher decides whether to barricade or flee,” Goshert said. “That’s a lot to put on a teacher. That’s a decision that could mean life and death. What tools do they have to make that decision? This app would give them the tools.”
Goshert told the council he is currently trying to sell the idea of getting this application for all school systems in the county.
In other business, Emergency Management Director Ed Rock told the council that the county will be conducting two tornado tests on March 20. He said the first one will be at 10:15 a.m. and the second between 7:15 and 7:30 p.m.