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Mar 3, 2018, Effingham (IL) Daily News: Schools across the area reflect on safety

http://www.effinghamdailynews.com/news/local_news/schools-across-the-area-reflect-on-safety/article_61ed9d04-c0bb-57f6-b14f-0ff36c7f951b.html


Threats have increased recently, including one that led to the Thursday closure of North Clay schools and another against Cowden-Herrick schools earlier in the week.

Law enforcement and schools investigate each threat, trying to determine if the threat has teeth.

Right now Effingham County has three school resource officers to cover the five school districts.

“I believe police officers should be in every school in America,” said Effingham Police Chief Jeff Fuesting.

“I think the piece that nobody wants to talk about is the social/emotional element for students,” said William Fritcher, superintendent of Teutopolis Unit 50 schools.

He includes the involvement of the staff, faculty and other adults alongside that of professional mental health specialists.

The district has the equivalent of one full-time counselor, he said. But that is fulfilled by two people, who also have teaching responsibilities.

Effingham Unit 40 Superintendent Mark Doan said that if funding stabilized, his district could consider providing more mental health services in school. …

“As of now, we don’t know what the problems are that are giving rise to school shootings,” Feldkamp said. “We’re wasting our kids lives by not sitting down and working on it.”

It calls for more than talking heads pushing agendas, he said, adding it calls for dealing with the actual matters at hand. A huge part of it comes back to money, and how much people are willing to spend to keep students safe.

“Nothing is free. Is there a tipping point for the community? What is the community willing to sacrifice, financially?” said Fritcher, the Teutopolis superintendent.