Weapon incident sends harsh message about world we live in

We are not immune.
That, unfortunately, is the lesson learned last week after a weapon was confiscated on school property in Aurora. Though there was no reported threat of violence, the fact that a gun was illegally brought on to school property was in and of itself alarming.
Just weeks after a deadly school shooting in Florida, an alert like this coming from right here at home feels like a punch to the gut. Incidents involving teens and guns can and do happen anywhere, but it still seems unbelievable that someone would think it’s okay, for any reason, to bring a gun with them to school.
The student in this case faces pending criminal charges and is reportedly not allowed on Aurora school grounds. That seems completely appropriate, though you can’t help but wonder what is in that young person’s immediate future.
As for the safety of students and staff at Aurora Public Schools, incidents like this prove why there is such a heightened priority given to protocols and procedures that simply didn’t exist not so long ago. It hasn’t been that long since students throughout rural Nebraska would have a shotgun in their vehicle, often hunting birds or wild game of some kind on their way to school or when headed home in the evening. That was normal for an older generation that is now scratching its head wondering how our world has changed so dramatically in a relatively short period of time. But it has, and that’s the reality we must face.
Teachers and administrators no doubt reviewed last week’s incident to see if the protocols in place were followed, and if anything new could be learned going forward. The same thing happened after the campus went into lockdown mode a year ago when fugitives were on the loose near school property.
Two safety audits have been conducted at the Aurora school in recent years and as a result the exterior doors are now locked during school hours, requiring visitors to be recognized before they are allowed inside. Some might argue that’s not enough in today’s world, but each level of security brings with it additional challenges and protocols, as well as significant cost.
At the end of the day, we still feel safe here in Aurora, understanding that there is always a threat someone will pierce our sense of security. We want our kids to be successful and thrive in a positive learning environment, but first and foremost we want them to be safe.
Kurt Johnson

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