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Mercer Island superintendent reflects on Nevada school violence
Mercer Island School District Superintendent Dr. Gary Plano released a statement regarding the October 21 violence at Sparks Middle School in Nevada. According to police, a 12-year-old boy brought a semiautomatic handgun to school, fatally shooting a teacher and wounding two students.
“Yesterday we received terrible news from Sparks Middle School in Nevada, where two people were tragically killed and two more students were seriously wounded as a result of violence. Our thoughts and condolences are with the families of the victims and the community of Sparks.
“While these heartbreaking events happen too frequently and seem to be happening more, they are still exceptionally rare. Our public schools continue to be among the safest places for our children.
“Since January the Mercer Island School District has completed several security upgrades to protect the safety of our students and staff. Classroom doors have added security district wide. Perimeter fencing has been added to secure our schools, video surveillance has been updated and improved at each of our campuses and all staff and volunteers are required to wear identification badges so they can be easily identified by students and staff.
“It will always be difficult to hear news of violence from communities like Sparks, Newtown, Aurora or Columbine. These events will usually elicit more questions than answers. It is important that we are prepared to discuss these events with children and can assure them that their parents and teachers will be there to protect them. Security and community are fundamental to a successful learning environment for children, and are standards we are committed to in the Mercer Island School District.”