Lag in Wisconsin school hostage response raises questions

Posted by on December 6, 2010

How does a student hold two dozen people hostage in a high school classroom with knives, two guns, and more than 200 rounds of ammo for about two hours without someone noticing?

Students and others asked similar questions after a student took 23 students and his teacher hostage in Marinette, Wisconsin, last week. Hostages were released, but the student shot himself and later died.

Student comments included:

“They should be aware when things go wrong or something,” said sophomore Ricardo Jaimes. “Like, at least have a clue about it.”



“I was just wondering where the cops were and when we were going to get out of this,” said Austin Biehl, a sophomore who was held hostage in the classroom.

Questions also were raised about metal detectors in school.  This appears to be an increasingly common point to which people jump and questions rise after a high-profile school violence incident.

It is worth noting from the story that police had held a school shooter exercise at the school in August, which likely describes why law enforcement was said to have had an excellent response.

Sometimes things work smoothly in a school crisis incident.  Sometimes things do not work smoothly.  Typically, a little bit of both occurs in the same incident.

How would school and safety officials respond to these comments, questions, and issues if they happened at your school?

Ken Trump

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