Schools have hardened against threat of attacks

Chad Wyen, right, Superintendent, Mad River Schools.  TY GREENLEES / STAFF
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Chad Wyen, right, Superintendent, Mad River Schools. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Access to schools now bears faint resemblance to when Chad Wyen first became an educator.

“We were able to have the doors open in the summertime. There was no fear of somebody coming into the building to do harm,” said Wyen, the Mad River Local Schools superintendent. “Really, the security of the building itself was fairly loose.”

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But within two decades the threat of violent intruders has resulted in buildings across the country surrounded by security cameras and secured by locked doors.

Some buildings, like all the district’s schools in Riverside, have guns cached in secure locations that can be accessed by an armed response team specially trained to stop an active shooter.

Thirty-two teachers and staff volunteered for the team and passed special training.

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“If it’s a violent intruder with a weapon, the response team is called,” he said.

Social media threats, such as those made by the alleged killer at a Florida school this week, are also a growing concern, Wyen said.

Within the year, the district is likely to subscribe to a service that monitors and analyzes more than a dozen social media platforms and provides a notification whenever a proximate potential threat is detected.

“There’s not one school district in the state of Ohio that hasn’t had one situation where students have posted something and action had to be taken,” Wyen said.

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“(Students) shouldn’t feel unsafe when they come to school,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that’s kind of the way our society is.