Columbia High School holding school safety forum - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Columbia High School holding school safety forum


EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. - A local high school, which had an active shooter in the school in 2004, is being proactive about safety and keeping parents informed by holding a safety forum for parents Tuesday night.

Officials at the Columbia High School says their goal is to make sure parents understand the safety measures now in place and how they can ensure the safety of their own kids. The forum will be held at 5 p.m. in the high school library.

Columbia High School, with 1,4000 students, has implemented a number of a safety measures over the last several years, despite what Principal John Sawchuk admits have been tough economic times. "I don't think you can put a price tag on safety of your children and lives of children," Sawchuk said.

Sawchuk saw the need first hand in February 2004, when a 16-year-old student opened fire inside Columbia High School, striking a teacher in the leg. Since then, school officials have stepped up security both in and out of the building.

Cameras have been set up throughout the building. Sawchuk also says, "Most of our offices are glass, so we try to find areas that are more conducive to security like wooden locked doors. Doors are locked and they're instructed if there is something going on, kick the door out and it's automatically locked."

There are also a number of guidance counselors and social workers on-hand for first level interventions.

"Some things are rumored, sometimes students come clean and they really have some issues," said school counselor, Sharon Dunn. "Some kids will post that they're suicidal or they know about other kids that are suicidal, but through these proactive programs that we've offered the students feel safe in coming to us."

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