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Kenosha Sheriff suggests schools change fire drills to protect students

Posted at 10:31 PM, Feb 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-26 23:31:53-05

The Kenosha County Sheriff has an idea to tighten up school security following the mass shooting at a Florida high school earlier this month, suggesting schools change the way fire drills are done.

Sheriff David Beth doesn’t think metal detectors or adding officers in schools are the answers. He sent a letter to 14 school districts hoping to start a conversation about changing the way fire drills are conducted, after learning that’s how the Parkland, Florida shooter might have gotten students and faculty out of classrooms.

“This is the way we’ve done it for decades. Well maybe we should do things a little different or at least consider doing it different,” Beth said. 

Among other ideas, the letter suggested moving people “to a distant part of the school and be prepared to exit if the need continues” to “buy time for fire and police to get to the school to evaluate the risks both inside and outside the school.” 

“If someone pushes an alarm and it’s fake could we line the kids up in the classrooms and have them ready to go as soon as one teacher says real fire?” Beth said. 

One Kenosha mom said change can be good when there’s proof it’s worth it. 

“Any of the drills, that’s something that we’ve all grown up with, we’re all used to, but I mean things do change,” said Stephanie Oster.

The Fire Chief applauded the Sheriff for looking forward but doesn’t think changing fire drills is safe. 

“If we tell children don’t act on what you’ve learned for hundreds of years I think it’s just kind of a dangerous recipe at the moment,” said Kenosha Fire Chief Charles Leipzig.

Oster is hopeful responders and educators agree on a change so she knows her kids are as safe as possible. 

“You can’t quite protect from every single instance whether it be a shooter in the school or whether it be an actual fire. There are so many variables,” said Oster. 

Kenosha Unified Schools declined to comment.