NEWS

U.S. experts have safety advice for GTA schools

05/22/2013 07:08 EDT | Updated 07/22/2013 05:12 EDT
U.S. experts were in Toronto on Wednesday with a warning for schools here — be prepared.

Although the instances of violence in local schools is small compared with schools in the U.S., a mother and daughter are cautioning that if a someone with a weapon gets inside a school staying put isn't always best.

"I need you to be able to evacuate in a way that takes you away from the danger," said Amy Klinger, even "if that means an exterior exit, going out a first-floor window."

The Klingers say teachers should consider moving students, or making barricades out of furniture.

School policy in Ontario says teachers should keep children inside the classroom — but the Klingers argue teachers should have more options.

"We need to equip teachers with the training, and the permission, and the ability to make a decision," said Amanda Klinger.

Right now there's no call to change the current lockdown protocols at Toronto schools which students practice in drills twice a year. But the Ontario College of Teachers says re-visiting the policy is worth a discussion.

"We thought they had great ideas and we wanted to bring those ideas forward for consideration by the experts here in Ontario," said Joe Jamieson of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Chris Buck, who was lead investigator in the shooting death of Jordan Manners at C.W. Jeffreys, says making any changes would involve discussions with police.

"These are not simple procedures made overnight. These are policies and procedures and training sessions that went over a couple of years," he said.

And Canadian advocates say those procedures are working.

"My concern would be to ramp up anxieties," said Stu Auty from the Canadian Safe Schools Network. "I think it's very important not to do that."

The Toronto District School Board did not respond to requests for comment.

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