Western Kentucky is a region whose residents have known the horror of a deadly school shooting. Since the 1997 Heath High School shootings in Paducah where three students were killed and five wounded, state law mandates that every public school have a safety plan. Those plans deal with a range of possibilities: from fire, train derailment, and earthquakes to an armed intruder or angry parent.
Kentucky Center for School Safety Director Jon Akers says more than 600 of the state's 1,245 schools have voluntarily undergone school safety assessments from a panel of experts to strengthen their plans. Still, Akers says no plan can prevent a tragedy such as the shootings that killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday.