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Unit 5, police react to school shooting

Fri, 07 Sep 2012 16:43:37 CDT
By: Willis Kern

Unit 5, police react to school shooting Officials with Unit 5 are mulling what additional security measures if any need to be enacted in the wake of the shooting. Superintendent Gary Niehaus says he's not ruling out installing metal detectors. He says whatever measures are put in place should also apply to Normal West as well as the district's four junior high schools. He says, for right now, students will be the main source of security.

"One of the greatest things I think we have is roughly 2,000 students in that building that are probably going to be watching everybody's move and everybody's circumstances. And I think our students will be probably the first to let someone know when something like this goes on."

Niehaus says, right now, all options are possible.

"I don't know that I have any plans today to do so but I wouldn't rule out metal detectors if that's something that needs to be done. I'm not so sure that that's where any direction of the district was going at this point."
Niehaus is urging parents and teachers to search student book bags. He says additional permanent security measures will have to be approved by the Unit 5 school board. Niehaus says school psychologists and counselors were meeting together when the incident occurred and were immediately available to students. Normal Police Chief Rick Bleichner confirmed a handgun was the weapon but wouldn't comment on whether a hatchet was involved. Bleichner says no clear motive for the shooting has yet developed. He says he has no knowledge that the alleged shooter has a troubled past. He said investigators are looking into how the boy obtained the gun. Niehaus says he and Bleichner briefly discussed dismissing classes at West and other schools but concluded the NCHS incident was isolated and no other threats were present.


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