- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Local school system officials say they have begun reviewing their emergency plans since a gunman killed five girls in a one-room schoolhouse in Pennsylvania’s Amish country and then killed himself Monday.

“Whenever an event occurs like this, our people always take a look at it and see if there’s anything that can be learned from it,” said Paul Regnier, a spokesman for Fairfax County public schools, which has more than 160,000 students.

Mr. Regnier said that the school system has a widely disseminated security plan and that each school has its own plan that is reviewed annually by security officials.

“We also are asking schools to review their own individual security plans,” he said.

The school systems’ review of security measures is proceeding after three school shootings nationwide in the past week.

Authorities in Pennsylvania said that Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, a milk-truck driver and father of three who lived in Lancaster County where the schoolhouse was located, stormed the building Monday morning and gunned down 10 girls.

Five girls remained hospitalized, four in critical condition.

Police said that Roberts had told his wife he had molested young children decades ago and left a note saying he had “dreams of molesting again.”

On Friday, a teenage student at a school in Cazenovia, Wis., fatally shot his principal, authorities said. Eric Hainstock, 15, had been warned by the principal a day earlier about having tobacco on school grounds, police said.

Last Wednesday, a gunman took six girls hostage at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colo. Duane Morrison, 53, sexually assaulted the girls and held them as human shields for hours before fatally shooting one girl and then himself.

Officials for Montgomery County public schools, which has more than 135,000 students, said they would study the incidents, which they said appear to be isolated and do not indicate that officials need to make immediate changes.

“We have a comprehensive security plan in place,” schools spokesman Brian Edwards said. “We practice Code Red and Code Blue drills all the time.”

The school system publishes a brochure to familiarize parents with the different alert levels, the responses associated with them and the procedures for reuniting parents with children.

John White, a spokesman for Prince George’s County public schools, said that every principal in the school system receives crisis training annually. That training includes ensuring that school officials know best how to cooperate with first responders.

“Part of our training is teaching principals what they can do to allow police to respond even faster,” said Mr. White, whose school system has more than 130,000 students. “The faster police can respond to an incident like that, the faster emergency personnel can treat any victims.”

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