Red Lion Area School District's Jeff Bryan said no one can be sure if any additional security measure could have prevented the tragedy a decade ago.
Bryan, the director of buildings and grounds, was working in Red Lion at the time junior high school principal Gene Segro was shot and killed by student Jimmy Sheets in the cafeteria.
"I don't look back and say we could've, we should've," said Bryan, who oversees security. "Most everything we have in place now was in place then."
School security has evolved since then, he said, with each passing national school tragedy, such as Sandy Hook.
The district, like others, does everything it can, but Bryan said there's no foolproof plan.
"I know in my heart and mind, if someone really wants to do something, if they really want to do that, they will," he said.
Friends with Segro: Bryan, who was friends with Segro and used to sit beside him in school board meetings, is now chairman of the security committee with the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.
He's had Red Lion take a variety of additional security measures since the 2003 shooting, as well as since the 2001 machete attack by William Stankiewicz, who injured principal Norina Bentzel, two teachers and 11 kindergarten pupils at North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School.
More cameras have since been installed, emergency generators are now in place, and administrators constantly go over security protocol, among other measures.
School security tactics now particularly focus on delaying the perpetrator from taking action, he said, because it gives police more time to arrive on scene.
It's a fine line, however.
A balance: Learning has to be the priority, Bryan said, echoing Segro's motto. Just as Bryan said after the Sandy Hook shooting, when some lawmakers called for bulletproof glass and armed teachers, students need to be safe but also need to feel like they aren't locked up.
"We want to balance it so we aren't making our schools a fortress," he said. "We're always looking at our security measures and thinking how can we do better."
Bryan has been working in education for about three decades, and in Red Lion for about 15 years. He never expected to experience seeing such violence in schools.
"I've certainly seen things I'd never thought I'd have to see working in a school district," Bryan said.
-- Reach Andrew Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org