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Security questions raised following McKinley HS shooting

McKinley HS.jpg
Thomas O'Neil-White
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WBFO News
First responders converge on McKinley High School in Buffalo following the shooting of two people Wednesday.

The aftermath of the shooting at McKinley High School, where a student was stabbed and a security guard shot, raises questions about security measures in Buffalo Public Schools, and has officials asking what could have prevented the incident
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Speaking with WBFO Wednesday evening, Buffalo Teacher Federation President Phil Rumore said violent incidents across the school district, and specifically at McKinley, have been growing this year.

“So we've been complaining about it for a while,” he said. “I mean some of the kids are telling the teachers they're afraid to come to school because they might get hurt if it doesn't change, then there has to be a change someplace because they have to sit down with the parents and sit down with the teachers that teach at that school and find out what needs to be done and then do it.”

While praying for the injured and lauding the quick response of Buffalo Police officers following the 911 call, Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash said the district is trying to meet the security needs of its schools the best way it sees fit.

Kriner Cash and Byron Brown-McKinley shooting
Thomas O'Neil-White
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Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash (left) and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown meet with media following Wednesday's shooting at McKinley High School.

“We put additional resources at least 15 additional staffing sources in this year alone,” Cash said of bolstering the security apparatus in schools. “And every day we are looking to bolster wherever we see the data suggests. So security guards and offices, we put an addition of those into the budget. We also have additional SROs and police support and backup here, almost on a daily basis.”

But a shooting on school grounds raises a lot of alarm, and one parent standing outside McKinley Wednesday wondered if more security is the answer or if addressing the root causes of violence is the more progressive and less reactionary way to handle the problem.

Wednesday night, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was "closely monitoring" the incident and that "gun violence is a public health crisis."

Cash also issued another statement to the Buffalo Public Schools Community that mentioned the incident, thanked police for being "on the scene immediately," while offering "thoughts and prayers" to those injured, their families and the "entire McKinley school community."

"Grief counseling and online SEL teaching resources will be provided to all students, parents, and teachers of the BPS anticipating the trauma this incident has had on all of us. Together, we will help each other through," he said.

School officials also emailed their District-Wide Trauma Supports document to families.

Buffalo Public Schools District-Wide Trauma Supports document.
Buffalo Public Schools
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Buffalo Public Schools' District-Wide Trauma Supports was emailed to families Wednesday evening.

Thursday morning, Buffalo School Board President Lou Petrucci provided an update to WBFO and talked about the district's response to the active crime scene and incidents of school violence in general.

"You have to balance with the needs of the police investigation versus the parents' very real need to find out about their children," Petrucci said.

WBFO's Jay Moran talks with Buffalo School Board President Lou Petrucci
 A headshot of Lou Petrucci.

Petrucci announced on Facebook early Wednesday that he would not seek reelection to the board this year.

Update, Wednesday 9:36 p.m.: Buffalo Police officials said a student was stabbed and a guard was shot. Previously it was reported that two people had been shot.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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