Sparks shooting reminder to keep eye on children
October 22, 2013
A school shooting in Sparks that resulted in the death of a teacher, the shooter, and injured two students on Monday morning reverberated in Douglas County.
School Superintendent Lisa Noonan said the shooting was a reminder that school safety is everyone’s job.
“We all have to stick together on this,” she said. “The school district can’t do it alone, and the sheriff’s office can’t do it alone. We all need to listen to our young people to find out if something’s upsetting them. Listening and watching is something we can all do together.”
According to news reports Sparks Middle School teacher and Nevada Air Guard Master Sgt. Michael Landsberry, a Marine Corps veteran, was shot and killed by student with a gun.
Noonan, who worked in the Washoe County School District, said the middle school is right next door to an elementary school in a highly developed area.
“It’s one of reasons with emergency plans we do have in place, we can’t be completely lock-step, we need some flexibility,” she said. “The adults with the children have to make decisions as the crisis develops. Are you inside? Are you outside? Are you hearing shots, hearing rumors, hearing an announcement? All of those are factors. It sounds like some people ran inside for cover, other people ran away from the campus.”
Noonan said both the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the East Fork and Tahoe Douglas fire districts serve on the school safety team.
“We are so blessed to have members of the DCSO serving on our safety team,” she said. “And it’s not just resource officers, but at least one captain. We get advice on best practices and latest ideas, keeping our safety ideas current.”
She said that in February about 60 people in teams from every school in the district came together for a full day of active shooter training provided by the Nevada Department of Emergency Management.
But even the most extensive training can only provide so much protection.
“All being said, you hope you’re ready, and are doing the best things, and keeping your eyes wide open,” she said. “Parents or community members who own guns should take extra steps to make sure they are locked up properly and consistently, where the young people can’t get at them.”
Noonan said the district’s hearts and prayers are with everyone in Sparks.
“No one should go to school and have to deal with something like this.”