About 70 people Wednesday attended the first of two community education sessions on school safety in which Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 explained its collaboration with police in preventing, investigating and responding to any potential threats to students and staff.
The session at Hoffman Estates High School featured District 211 administrators as well as representatives of the Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates police departments.
These speakers explained how much emergency response procedures had changed since the Columbine High School shooting of 1999, how to ensure social media stays an asset and not an impediment during a crisis, and how much investigation precedes a declaration of "no threat."
While the four hours it took police to enter Columbine is something the police community still debates, the four minutes it took in February's Parkland, Florida, shooting is already considered too long, Schaumburg police Lt. Shawn Green said.
There should be no doubt a school's police resource officer will be the first responder to a shooting or other threat to safety, he added.
Such important skills are trained hard, even if every police officer hopes never to use them, Green said.
"We do it anyway, and we do it with passion because we know how important it is to get it right," he said.
Susan Rodgers of Schaumburg, whose older son will enter District 211 this year, said the 75-minute presentation answered all the questions she'd had.
"I was impressed to hear the amount of work and ongoing collaboration and planning that they put into it," she said.
A second District 211 school safety session, this one co-hosted with Palatine Township Elementary District 15 and the Palatine Police Department, will be held at 7 p.m. today in the auditorium of Palatine High School, 1111 N. Rohlwing Road.