Delaware Public Media

Since Columbine, Indian River District constantly evolving safety tactics

Feb 15, 2018

The shooting at a Florida school that killed 17 is resonating with one Delaware school district.


Indian River School District Superintendent Mark Steele says he’s confident the district’s schools have evolved since Columbine in 1999, and would be prepared in the circumstance of a school shooting. After Columbine, the district took an active role in prioritizing school safety, Steele said. 

He says limiting response time and restricting entrances are two of the district's priorities. School entrances are locked, and individual teachers lock their doors during the day.


“We look at all of these shootings that take place and we look at what the person did and we say ‘how would that work in our schools? What would we have that would prevent that from happening?’” Steele said.


The district has five officers in charge of school security and one armed constable in each school.


Steele says when he heard the news of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, he was in disbelief.


“I think it’s always shock in the beginning and then overwhelming sadness,” Steele said.


Last year, the district’s Board of Education budgeted $1.2 million for school safety after a public vote allowed them to use the money. The money allowed the district to maintain school campus monitors and purchase radios and bus cameras for safety.


Coincidentally, the district is conducting a school safety protocol exercise Friday in which safety teams from the 16 schools, local police and state officials will go through dangerous school scenarios and how to handle them.