McCormick: "Columbine was a Rude Awakening" and "Impacted All of Us"
STATEWIDE--The Columbine school shooting in Colorado 20 years ago was something that impacted all of us. Those were the sentiments of Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick, Thursday.
In an interview with WISH-TV, McCormick said she was a classroom teacher when the Columbine shooting happened in 1999.
"I just remember the impact it had on all of us. It was a rude awakening of mass murder happening in our schools," McCormick said.
She says it changed the way schools approached taking preventative measures to protect students from mass shootings.
"Indiana is fortunate. We have a school safety academy. We are one of only a few states across the nation that has that. That academy helps to prepare and plan," McCormick said.
That school safety academy, she says, goes beyond active shooter training.
"It goes into lightning at a football game all the way down to pH balance of a swimming pool, so there are so many factors," she said.
On Mental Health
McCormick told WISH that mental health is a topic at the forefront of every school she visits.
"Unfortunately at the state level, we have to have legislative help with that for resources and the ability to do what we need to do. We need to have that flexibility so schools can do what they need to do in that space," McCormick said.
She says she's confident that there will be more aggressive legislation.
"We need to find money beyond the $14 million. We spend $60 million in assessments per year and $14 million in safety. That has to change," McCormick said.
McCormick wants to emphasize that school safety is a complex issue that isn't easy to solve.
"What worries all of us in schools is that they're getting very focused into 'we're gonna solve this problem by shooting teachers in drills with pellet guns' or 'we're gonna solve this problem by just giving people wands.' There is no one solution to this," McCormick said.
The 20-year anniversary of the Columbine shooting is Saturday April 20th.
(PHOTO: Eric Berman/WIBC)