The shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School will mark its one-year anniversary on Saturday, Jan. 20. The event rocked the small village of West Liberty, which received national attention as one of the shootings that occurred in 2017.
Here are some of the things that have changed at the campus since the shooting and how the community is still working to heal .
New security features added
Several new security measures have been implemented at the school since the shooting, including new windows and doors. During the shooting, many children escaped through windows that weren’t designed to open fully, making it difficult for several of them. New windows in the school now fully open in case of emergency, allowing for easier escape.
Classroom doors have also been outfitted with special devices that make it more difficult for intruders to enter and bullet-resistant film has been installed in all windows.
Students also must follow new security protocols, including only entering the building through one entrance.
Counselor hired to help speak to students
A counselor has been added to the staff to speak to students who might still be dealing with the after-effects of the shooting.
The Springfield News-Sun spoke with leaders at other schools that experienced a school shooting and was told many students appeared fine right after the tragedy but then develop issues later on. West Liberty-Salem Superintendent Kraig Hissong said the school has seen a similar trend, which lead them to hire the counselor full-time.
Activities planned to give back to a supportive community
To show their appreciation to first responders, the students at West Liberty-Salem are set to host Tiger Strong Day on Thursday, Jan. 18. Many high school students will work with elementary school students to create thank you cards for the responders and medical staff at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus where Logan Cole, one of the victims in the shooting, was treated.
The community was important to the recovery of the school, West Liberty-Salem High School senior Taylor Henault said.
“The community was really great to us and made us feel loved,” Henault said. “We just want to give back to the community, which was so nice and supportive of us.”
They will also create chew toys out of old T-shirts for animals at PAWS animal shelter and for therapy dogs who supported the students after the shooting. The students also plan on making cookies for schools who sent positive messages.
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