Waseca Reviews Safety In Wake Of Near-Tragedy

Created: 07/11/2014 7:00 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Earlier this year, authorities in Waseca foiled a school shooting plot when they arrested 17-year-old John LaDue for making explosives and planning to attack his school.

A major tragedy was narrowly avoided, but now the school district is changing some of its procedures to better protect students.

Last month, officials with the Department of Homeland Security toured Waseca High School to try to identify potential security improvements.

Superintendent Tom Lee said the district requested the meeting prior to the situation involving LaDue, with the tour date coinciding with a county-wide training program.

But many of the recommendations made by homeland security correspond to a school shooting type situation.

They recommended the district install directional signage near the doors to make it easier for potential first responders to navigate their way around the schools.

They also suggested moving the main office closer to the front doors to better manage visitors coming in and out of the building.

Some of the larger changes would need community input and approval, and Lee said they are currently in the early planning stages.

But the district is taking some steps on its own.

In the fall, changes will be made to how people access the buildings and how staff communicate internally. They will also run additional security drills to keep both staff and students up to date on procedures.

The homeland security group identified some positives as well, including existing areas that could be used as safe rooms.

Lee said district officials are continually reviewing safety measures to keep students as secure as possible.

Photo: ABC 6 News