School shootings discussed locally

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By Amanda Manning

 In the wake of recent school shootings, local educators, candidates and students are speaking out. 

At both the Oldham County Board of Education meeting on Feb. 26 and in a letter, Superintendent Greg Schultz addressed the recent shootings. 

Last week, Oldham County High School Principal Dr. Angela Newcomb posted a photo of her notes and thoughts about school shootings on the “ochscolonels” instagram account. 

“I want you to know that this is constantly on my mind. It is my job to deal with fear, not yours,” she wrote in the caption. 

That post was later taken down.  “District administration asked her to take it down because it sounded more appropriate coming from an individual versus a principal,” Oldham County Schools said in a statement. 

During an event with Senate candidate Matt Kaufmann on Feb. 21, Oldham County High School student Karrington Kinslow disagreed. 

“When they censor that, that doesn’t help,” Kinslow said. “It made me feel safe to know that my principal was thinking about these things.”

Superintendent Schultz recently sent a letter home to parents and students addressing the recent shootings. “My heart breaks for the Florida community as it did for Marshall County,” he wrote in the letter. 

He also addressed security in that letter. “The officers, who are employed by the Oldham County Police Department, patrol school buildings and campuses, as well as work to build positive relationships with students,” Schultz wrote. 

During the Board of Education meeting, Schultz also addressed the crowd after Director of Facilities Brent Bohannon presented the school’s safety and security project. 

Bohannon said he often gets asked when the campus safety and security project will be complete. “My answer is the same thing every time, it’s not something that will ever be complete. There’s always ways that we can improve the safety and security of our schools,” he explained.

“We have to be careful that with the events that are happening in the world – horrendous events that I wish would never happen anywhere – that we can’t be so responsive or overly responsive that we do things that in the long run that do not make us any safer, but give us a false sense of security so to speak,” Schultz said at the end of the presentation.  

“Everyone needs to understand, we’re doing our best to keep students and school safe,” Schultz added. 

Schultz also stressed that if you see something, say something. 

“Even with these tangible systems in place, the best defense against these school shooting tragedies is the human element,” Schultz said in the letter.  

No one came forward during the public comment portion of the meeting to address the board about recent school shootings or the campus security presentation. 

In addition, Oldham County Sheriff candidate Phil Feigel is hosting a free CCDW class this Saturday at the Christian Cowboy Church. On the Facebook event, he wrote, “Free Ky. concealed carry class for all Oldham County school teachers.”

32 people clicked that they were either interested or attending the event at the time of press. 

“Teachers and staff are welcome to attend the class on their own time, but current state law prohibits guns in schools,” Director of Communications for Oldham County Schools Lori McDowell said in response. 

“This whole thing of arming teachers is ridiculous,” Senate candidate Kaufmann said recently at Oldham County High School. He suggested adding more security inside the schools. 

Max Wineinger, Mental Health Counselor for Oldham County Schools also spoke about the school shootings from his unique perspective at Kaufmann's speech on Feb. 21.

“There’s not enough mental health in the county,” he said. “I’m the only expert in seven schools.”

He also said that there is a specific need at the elementary schools lately. 

“There could be a counterpart to me in every school in my opinion,” Wineinger said. 

Kaufmann agreed. “There needs to be more than one mental health expert in a building,” he said.

Oldham County Schools said that in light of national tragedies, they've been speaking with students.

“Administrators have been talking to students and listening to their concerns as well. We strive to keep an open dialogue going to help students process the recent events and alleviate fears,” Oldham County Schools said via a statement. 

To read more about the emergency response plans in Kentucky schools, visit kycss.org/emp/Home/EmerRevCol.pdf.