A dangerous police chase that ended inside an Opa-locka, Fl., elementary school full of dozens of students yesterday underscored a pressing need to re-examine security at public and private schools, said education and security experts quoted by the Miami Herald. A shooting suspect trying to escape police ran into a Catholic school, forcing officers to evacuate about 200 middle school and preschool pupils. The suspect was captured a short time later, and no one at the school was hurt. A second suspect was captured outside the school. “There’s the belief that emergency and security issues are something that belong solely to public schools,” said Kenneth Trump of Cleveland-based National School Safety and Security Services, a consulting firm. “This is the classic example that emergency planning crosses all boundaries of all types of schools.”
Archdiocese of Miami spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said the 71 South Florida schools the archdiocese administers do not have regular security guards. “Obviously, today was an event out of the ordinary,” she said. “But this gives us something to look at [regarding] our safety plans and perhaps update them.” Trump observed that some private schools wrongly believe “they are immune from the same security and same violence and same emergency risks as public schools.” It’s one thing to have an emergency plan on paper, he said, but it must be tested regularly to see if it works in an emergency.