Public education and law enforcement officials have reacted hastily to several false alarms involving schools during the past few months. But in such circumstances, haste makes safety.
On Monday, dismissal for Brooke High School students was delayed a few minutes because of a report of someone firing a gun near the school. Students were placed on "lockdown" while the sheriff's department checked out the report. Only after it was determined there was no cause for alarm were students released to leave the school.
A fisherman on Cross Creek near the school had called the authorities, saying he heard shots being fired. Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said his deputies checked the area but could find no threat to students. Jackson, noting gunfire can be heard from a long distance away, speculated someone may have been engaging in target practice.
"We chose to err on the side of caution," the sheriff added.
Good. Our area is full of gun enthusiasts whose hunting and target practice mean the sound of shots being fired is common. But area law enforcement officials and educators are right to react decisively to even the slightest possibility that children, either in school or elsewhere, are endangered. They are to be applauded for their sense of caution, and encouraged to continue making it their policy.