Our Opinion: New Taconic ready for an old reality

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As school systems across the country have learned to their horror and sadness, the prospect of a disturbed individual exploiting our permissive gun laws and working out their grievances on innocent children can strike anywhere at any time. Even in Massachusetts, with its relatively strict gun laws, serious contemplation of such a scenario and a plan for responding to it are required and responsible actions in these times.

Last Thursday, mere rumors that circulated throughout Pittsfield's new Taconic High School, which has only been open for a week, were enough to activate a policy of holding students in place for their protection until the threat was determined to have been unfounded or a hoax (Eagle, Sept. 7). Officials cited an "abundance of caution." Caution is wise given that Simon's Rock College in Great Barrington was the scene of won of the nation's first school shootings in 1992, a tragedy that left two dead and four injured. It can happen here, and it has.

At Taconic's, the system worked as it should. School officials immediately notified the police upon catching wind of the rumor, the school resource officer and other Pittsfield police officers conducted a walk-through of the facilities and questioned and searched a few students until they were satisfied there was no threat. It is clear that somebody heeded the dictum that has been beaten incessantly into students' heads for decades: "If you see something, say something."

The alarm, though false, was an important dry run for the day that everyone prays will never happen. It's reassuring to know that Pittsfield Public Schools administrators are taking the threat with utmost seriousness. No one, however, should give up the tough measures that will keep guns out of the hands of potential killers.


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