Vermont school takes extra precaution after Jack Sawyer incident

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FAIR HAVEN, Vt. (WCAX) Over the last couple months, the Addison-Rutland district has invested about $275,000 in security, including exterior renovations, additional resource officers, and security cameras.

On February 14, Brooke Olsen-Farrell says her outlook on school safety changed forever.

"I think about school security every single day. When I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed at night,” said Olsen-Farrell.

On that day, the Addison-Rutland superintendent found out her school district was a target of a planned attack.

Investigators say former Fair Haven Union High School Student, Jack Sawyer, had guns and diary entries with the names of people he wanted to shoot at the high school.

Sawyer's alleged plot to kill was stopped when a friend contacted police about his threats.

"It really brought it home that it could actually happen here in a small community,” said Maryanne Charron of Castleton.

Weeks after Sawyer's arrest, the school saw a 25-percent increase in absences.

Now the school district is taking steps to make sure students, faculty, and staff are safer at school.

"We really have upgraded our security,” said Olsen-Farrell.

Over the last couple months, the district has invested about $275,000 in security, including exterior renovations, additional resource officers, and security cameras.

"This is a life and death matter that we are dealing with,” said Susan Murphy of Castleton. “I think that I can argue that whatever would improve the chances of avoiding a disaster are worth investing in.”

Since February, Castleton Police Chief Peter Mantello says he's getting more and more training requests.

Wednesday night, he gave a presentation to parents on an active shooter training called ALICE. The training is a pro-active response to an active shooter situation.

"Unfortunately, that type of shooting is not prejudice. It can happen anywhere,” said Mantello.

Chief Mantello says he will be conducting five more training sessions with faculty and staff in the Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union.