Bridgeport updates school crisis plans


Times Leader Staff Writer

BRIDGEPORT – In light of all the recent school shootings and bomb threats across the state and nation, the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District wasted no time in updating its plan to help avert such tragic events.

Superintendent Ted Downing, along with Board of Education members Roger Stewart and Jerry Moore, met Thursday with newly elected Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas, his new Chief Deputy Bill Archer, Sgt. Rob Moore, Bridgeport Mayor John J. Callarik, Bridgeport Police Chief Andy Klotz and Volunteer Fire Chiefs Mark Subasic (Bridgeport), Allen Ketzell (Brookside) and Matt Otto (Wolfhurst).

The purpose of the 1-hour session was to finalize the district’s Crisis Plan, which as all involved mentioned at least once, “this is something that we hope we never have to use.”

Points of discussion centered around where students would be evacuated to in case of either a shooting incident or a bomb threat.

Although there were several sites announced as designated locations, all involved asked the media not to disclose where those locations were for the safety of the students.

“We’ve been working hard on this plan with the sheriff’s department, all the local fire departments and the police department,” Downing said. “Hopefully this will give our staff a more updated plan on how to deal with a crisis if we should ever have one.

“We’ve taken our time and I think we’ve done it right,” he continued. “I think we now have a very good plan in place to help protect the children of the Bridgeport school district.”

The plan will be formally presented for approval to the 5-member board of education at its next regularly monthly meeting on Wednesday. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the administration building, which is located adjacent to the school campus.

“I think this plan will be a plus for the entire community in regards from the school perspective, the law enforcement perspective, the emergency response, the EMS and fire, and also for our kids and the parents,” Sheriff Lucas said. “That’s what we’re here for. All of us getting together is great because, like I said before, we plan for the worst and hope for the best. But, we’re working together and that’s a big plus for all of us.”

Lucas also stressed the fact that in dealing with an ‘active’ shooter, first responders only have 60 to 90 seconds in which to decide what their options are.

“For us, as law enforcement personnel, our first action is to go after the shooter. Get the to the threat first and deal with that,” Lucas noted. “That’s why it’s good to have a plan like this, so after we have taken care of the threat, we can deal with everything else.”

The board of education meeting is open to the public.

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