School Principal Wounded by Student Shooter

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News from Argus Leader, Sioux Falls

  • A Harrisburg High School student entered the school Wednesday morning and entered into a struggle with principal Kevin Lein. The student pulled out a gun and Lein was shot in the arm, police say.
  • Assistant principal Ryan Rollinger heard the gunshot and tackled the shooter, police say. Athletic director Joey Struwe and Rollinger held the suspect down until police arrived.
  • No students were injured. The school was placed on lockdown and students were bused to the Harrisburg middle school for pickup after 11 a.m.
  • Lein is in stable condition, authorities said.

How it happened: Sioux Falls Police information officer Sam Clemens said the incident started when a student entered the building at about 10 a.m. Wednesday and went to the principal’s office. There was a struggle between the student and Principal Kevin Lein, and Lein was shot in the arm.

Clemens said Ryan Rollinger heard the gunshot, went to help and tackled the shooter. He and athletic director Joey Struwe held the student until authorities arrived.

The school was put on lockdown at 10:03 a.m.

The principal is recovering and the assistant principal is being heralded as a hero for tackling a student after the shooting.

Police are in the early stages of the investigation but believe the student acted alone, Clemens said.

Harrisburg school officials are still deciding whether to have classes Thursday.

“For years we’ve been, schools have been, trying to figure out how to prepare for this,” said Superintendent Jim Holbeck, “and you hope it never happens in your backyard.”

Agents from the FBI and ATF, several sheriffs and police agencies and officers with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security quickly arrived.

The school went into its often-drilled procedure, Holbeck said. Panic buttons were pushed and students were put in lockdown.

Bomb squad investigators are still checking out the school as a precaution, Clemens said, but believe the building to be safe. Police have recovered the firearm, he said.

Reaction: Senior Maraya King said her class was one of the first to hear that a gunman was in the school. She said a classmate came from the hallway saying he saw a man with a gun in the hallway.

“We all thought he was kidding,” King said. “That doesn’t happen here.”

King said she has seen similar incidents on the news and thought she would know how to react if she found herself in that situation.

“When it actually happens, you just freeze,” she said.

It Does Happen Here

Over the past few years, Firestorm has partnered with a number of school associations (Independent School Associations in Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and others) and school support organizations such as RenWeb, to deliver a series of School Preparedness Webinar sessions designed to create a culture of preparedness for school employees, students, parents, and community. We will continue to do so in 2016.  You may view our upcoming sessions on our webinar calendar and recorded sessions on our YouTube Channel.

SchoolAssessmentRelated ArticleSchool Violence Prevention – Early Responses Show Tools, Plans and Training Needed

The main take away from today’s and other tragic events is that there is no single solution to prevention or mitigation. Only through the implementation of a preparedness program, that incorporates assessment, planning, training, and testing, along with the use of equipment, technology and most importantly, human resources, is there the greatest potential to make a difference in the outcome.

Most schools have implemented emergency response plans that address protocols to use for an active shooter, e.g. lockdown. They have set up crisis teams to respond when a bad event has occurred. Although a robust emergency response plan requires these tactics, they do not address the real problem— ‘how do we end the madness?”Gun image

The answer to keeping our children and employees safe lies in prevention. It is the job of every school administrator and board member to try and prevent acts of violence.

Firestorm® works with schools and organizations to implement a program that will prevent such acts in the first instance — a program that will identify at risk students and employees, long before they progress down a path of violence or ever want to cause harm to  begin with. Such a program will foster an environment of enhanced safety, and give students and employees the ability to perform more optimally from an academic, social and emotional perspective.

Firestorm is currently engaged to help keep hundreds of schools and tens of thousands of students safer. Firestorm principals and Expert Council members have the strongest credentials in the school safety industry, and we have responded to some of the nation’s greatest school tragedies—including Virginia Tech, Littleton, Columbine, and Platte Canyon. Firestorm’s crisis response experience extends beyond school shootings and includes incidents of sexual abuse, suicide, bullying, hazing, employee/student/domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, drowning and child pornography allegations. Let us help your school.

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