COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's one of the most frightening things a parent or student can imagine: a gunman in a school building, everyone in grave danger.
That scenario played out recently near Atlanta, when a heavily armed gunman entered an elementary school. He told a school bookkeeper he was ready to die before she heroically talked him down.
Caller: "Ooh, he just went outside and started shooting. Can I run?"
Dispatcher: "Can you get somewhere safe?"
Caller: "Yeah, I got to go...he's going to see me running, he's coming back. He said to tell them to back off."
The shooter had a history of mental illness. He eventually surrendered, thanks to that brave bookkeeper.
Miraculously, no one was hurt.
Experts say the main reason this situation ended without bloodshed was because everyone seemed to know what to do.
The children got out of the building quickly and the bookkeeper handled the gunman calmly. If there was a plan for this scenario, they executed it perfectly.
Muscogee County has a comprehensive school safety plan and constantly works to make it better.
We think every school safety plan should specifically address gun threats and include an evacuation plan and training for students and teachers.
New technology like bullet-proof whiteboards and backpacks, which can be used as shields, could also be incorporated into those plans.
We pray such a situation never happens here, but just in case, having a plan is crucial!
WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906