It has been 18 months since the school massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary,
and the former superintendent is talking about lessons learned.
Local school administrators are listening.
It still shocks the senses.
"This is one of the most horrific things that has happened," said
Janet Robinson, former Newtown School superintendent.
In December 2012, a troubled Adam Lanza, armed with an AR15, killed 20 first
graders and six educators. Newtown, Connecticut's former school superintendent
is in New Orleans, talking prevention before school security administrators
from across the country.
"I think it's important to look at mental health issues and how
accessible these high powered weapons are to people with emotional
difficulties," said Robinson.
Janet Robinson says Newtown did a lot to try and prevent what
happened. They had recently performed a lockdown drill and had a single
controlled access, but there were no security officers at Sandy Hook.
"There were not security people, but there were buzz-in systems and
practiced their alerts," she said.
Local school security officers gathered for the conference say the
key is using technology to find problem students once a threat has been made.
"We have that technology to investigate the screen names aren't
always their real names," said E.J. Bilbo, School Security Chief.
Vendors offer a wide array of new technologies, including controlled
In spite of new technologies, there are no easy solutions. Most
schools are using controlled access systems, as were used in Sandy Hook. But
there it wasn't enough.
"The police response was three minutes. If we could have delayed them
two minutes, that would have made a difference," said Robinson.
Robinson added some type of bulletproof glass might have made a
difference. As for identifying the mentally ill before they buy guns, it's
"No one knew his mental state except his mother," said Robinson.
"They do it if you've been adjudicated mentally ill. But that needs
to be broadened, I think," said Peter Scharf, a Criminologist at Tulane.
The search to save lives continues.
"Students are clustered in one place and we've got to find a way to
protect them," said Robinson.
Sandy Hook's former superintendent says changes have been made in her
hometown of Newton, Connecticut. However, she refused to talk about the details
for security reasons.
As for security officers in all schools, the chief of security at
Orleans Parish Schools says they've got them.