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Schools reviewing policy to keep students safe

Posted at 5:38 PM, Oct 02, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS -- There have been 142 school shootings in the United States since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, according to Every Town for Gun Safety.

Students on the IUPUI campus are reacting to the deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College.

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"I feel terrible for the people that died. It just racks my mind that someone would go in there and shoot people and just feel okay with it,” Micah Marx said.

Though more than 2,300 hundred miles away, the tragedy hits home.

Troy Riggs leads safety efforts at the Public Policy Institute at IUPUI. He previously served as Director of Public Safety for the City of Indianapolis.

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"I guarantee every school in the nation is watching this closely, reviewing their policy and seeing what they can learn. That's what we have to do. In each one of these incidents, there's something else you learn where you can strengthen your policies and procedures and more importantly, your training and what you share with your students,” Riggs said.

Stephen Satterly knows first-hand the importance of training. He advises schools across the country on safety planning through Safe Havens International. He said the most important thing teachers, parents and students can do to ensure a school is safe is to speak up if they notice anything out of the ordinary.

"The school needs to develop the type of climate where other students feel comfortable coming to a teacher and saying you know, hey my friend is having a really rough time or they said something that really scared me,” he said.

Satterly’s focus is on security in elementary, middle and high schools. He said there are ways to improve safety in the construction of new buildings, like ensuring cell phone reception, and dividing a school so gates or doors can isolate one part of the building if needed.

"The way that you design your building, the landscaping outside, even something as simple as how the parking lines go in the parking lot, increasing sight lines out of windows," Satterly said.

Many schools have cameras and revised policies for visitors. Riggs said we need to have conversations about safety in the workplace and places of worship.