West Liberty-Salem makes safety changes after student shot


WEST LIBERTY, Ohio — New security measures have been put in place at a school where a student opened fire in January.

The West Liberty-Salem School District is taking the extra steps after a student critically injured another student.

“You always think that it happens somewhere else,” Superintendent Kraig Hossing said.

On January 20, Ely Serna shot fellow student Logan Cole in the bathroom.

“Students very quickly barricaded doors like they were trained to do,” Hossing said.

But the shooter moved through the hallways and shot into classrooms. So teachers and students decided to get out.

“One of the things we experienced was that it was difficult for students to be able to get out of the building,” Hossing said.

The windows could only be cranked out about eight to 10 inches. They had to break through the screens and limiters to make it out.

“It still only took them a matter of seconds but we’ve learned in these situations, seconds are precious,” Hossing said.

The schools are already undergoing a $30 million renovation. So the district is installing one specially-designed window in every room.

“Basically using the same hardware, they’ve added a piano hinge to it,” Hossing said.

There’s no screen and, with a single push, the window opens completely. Inside door locks are changing as well.

“They take a little time to engage and you also can’t tell if it’s locked or unlocked easily,” Hossing said.

The thumb turn idea will stay but it will now be just a small turn and have a red indicator to show it's locked.

More cameras, secured entrances and remote controlled door locks are part of the upgrade as well.

The district is also looking at bringing in a deputy as a school officer. They are about to meet with Ohio Homeland Security to review how accurately the safety plan was followed during the shooting and if changes need to be made.