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Leaders from local schools converse about school safety, gun control

Posted at 10:32 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 23:32:26-05

Some area superintendents weighed in for the first time on school security Friday and they all agreed what needs to be the top priority.  

WTMJ Radio organized the "Community Conversation- Securing Our Schools" where superintendents representing Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls and the West Allis-West Milwaukee districts talked candidly.  They were all in agreement about their stance on arming teachers with guns.

"To introduce a gun into a school again I think that would be a grave mistake.  Guns don't belong in schools," said Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver, Milwaukee Public Schools.

"To add a weapon into the classrooms, I'm sure there will be a lot of debate related to that that wouldn't be a recommendation I would advance," said Superintendent Dr. Pat Greco, Menomonee Falls.

Former Milwaukee Police Officer and former head of MPS Security, Peter Pochowski, is now the Executive Director of Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association.  He was first against arming teachers, but now thinks it's something to consider.

"The fact of the matter is a school staff person is more likely to end a school shooting then the police are," Pochowski said.

As for school walkouts, Menomonee Falls and West Allis-West Milwaukee will let students leave with parents permission.  Dr. Marty Lexmond is also exploring alternative ideas like holding a moment of silence.

"Should we give opportunities for students to send posters to the high school when students come back or we're considering if you want to contact your elected representatives differently here's how you can do that," Lexmond said. 

An emotional Driver said she stand by the students.

"It is a civil right for our students to be safe... and why it is difficult for me to just say that they should not do this I talk to my parents and they talk about attending segregated schools and how they had to make these choices at times," Driver said. 

One student at Rufus Kind in Milwaukee and one at Menomonee Falls said they feel safe in their schools, but agree with the leaders preventing shootings is beyond what metal detectors can catch.

"It always comes back to mental health," said Greco.

"I think the ongoing work really falls on us in schools to make sure every young person is connected.  Every young person feels is connected and make sure every young person belongs in that community and so we don't have the loner situation anymore," said Lexmond.