Former Secret Service directors devise plan for Middleburg Heights school safety

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio - Their jobs were to protect our presidents, and to secure buildings like the White House and various embassies.

So the mayor of Middleburg Heights hired them to make sure the school buildings in his city are safe.

"Two former directors of the Secret Service is as good as it gets," Mayor Gary Starr said.

Starr launched Operation Protect Our Children after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He equipped police officers with assault rifles and stronger body armor, and hired the former agents to conduct the school security review.

Starr couldn't release specifics of the 72 pages of recommendations. However, he said the former agents left no stone unturned.  

"They studied at night the lighting of all the buildings," he said. "Something as simple as lights. Is it bright enough? What types of bulbs are you using? Locks on doors. How about security doors? Where to come in. Where to go out."

The report is still a working draft, but some of it has already been implemented. Parents who will send their children back to Middleburg Heights schools on Wednesday are relieved.

"I think it gives you butterflies sometimes in the morning because you're letting go and giving them up to someone else," said Jessica Meany, a mother of two. "But I truly believe that in our district they're protected the best that they can."

Mayor Starr said he's willing to share the security plan with other cities in order to protect children.  The city's web address is www.Middleburgheights.com .

"I believe that we have done everything humanly possible to hire the best and the brightest to put together a comprehensive and detailed security plan," Starr said.

"Can you ever prevent Columbine, Chardon, Sandy Hook? The answer is no. But what you can do is enhance your plan and make sure you have the best response by manpower, equipment, and more importantly, a comprehensive security plan."

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