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Saratoga County

Columbia High School principal discusses safety measures taken after 2004 incident

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Albany/HV: Columbia High School principal discusses safety measures taken after 1999 incident
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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. -- The Capital Region has known the fear of a school shooting. We caught up with the principal of Columbia High School in East Greenbush, where a gunman opened fire in 2004.

In that incident, thankfully, no one died. Only a teacher was injured. But it was traumatic enough for the school to make some changes that are still in place today. The school has a police officer stationed there full time and a security supervisor as well. Students and staff wear ID badges and can access an anonymous tip line that administrators say they take seriously. They also practice drills regularly, creating "what-if" scenarios to be prepared for the worst. And while some may complain about inconvenience, administrators say better safe than sorry.

“Whether it's coming in the front door and having to show an id, things like that, just understand that everything we do, we do for the safety of our kids,” Principal John Sawchuk said.

Columbia High says it still could do some things better and is working to redesign its front entrance to discourage walk-ins and better keep an eye on everyone who comes into the building.

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