Column: Look to Newark for an outside-the-box response to school shootings

A Crawford County high school graduate is doing something no one else in the nation has done.

Doug Ute, who graduated from Buckeye Central High School in the 1970s, is now the superintendent of Newark City Schools. He, and the Newark school district, are being proactive in an worthwhile effort to help student and staff safety in the event of a school shooting or other type of violent action in school building or on school campuses.

According to an article by Marc Kovac, that appeared in the March 30 edition of the Columbus Dispatch, Ute’s school district is the first in the nation to buy a central Ohio non-profit’s new system to help civilians handle injuries that result from school shootings or other attacks.

While Ute hopes the training and treatment kits sold and developed by citizenAID USA, will never will have to be used, he said it is always better to be safe than sorry.

“You’ve got to prepare for something like this. If you don’t prepare for it and lives are lost, it’s something that you could have prevented. I think that’s the important part of this,” Ute said in the article.

As school districts throughout Ohio and across the nation, are focused — and rightfully so — on making school buildings and campuses more secure, Newark City Schools is taking that preparation a step further.

The 500 kits purchased by the school district can be used by students and staff to treat severe trauma as a result of a shooting or other violent incident.

According to the article: “Part of the issue with shootings at schools and elsewhere is that buildings have to be secured before paramedics can enter,” Ute said. “In some past cases, it has taken hours to complete that process.

Bob Otter, Founder and CEO of citizenAID North America, added: “In the meantime, those who have been injured stand a better chance of survival if treated quickly. A person can bleed to death in minutes from a gunshot or other wound to a femoral artery.”

This is a brilliant idea, for a number of reasons.

The sad fact is, that unless you turn every school in the nation into an armed fortresses, there is little hope of stopping violent school attacks all together.

Plus, students and staff, who are most often the victims in these types of attacks, often talk about how helpless they felt during the attack. If they can save a life or treat a wound or do CPR while buildings are searched and cleared, they are doing something.

These kits will not stop school shootings, but they could save lives.

According to the article: “Newark schools already have increased their emphasis on mental health, providing more programming and intervention for students and staff to address stress and other issues before they escalate.

“The district also employs a resource officer at the high school, has installed special door locks to secure classrooms, and has adopted communications systems that can quickly notify law enforcement and emergency responders of violent incidents.

The new treatment kits and training will provide an added support if students or staff are traumatically injured and awaiting medical treatment.”

CitizenAID was founded in the United Kingdom and has offices in Ohio. The company is offering free phone app with easy-to-understand instructions on dealing with traumatic injuries. And the kits, which sell for about $45 each, include tourniquets, pressure dressings and other basic supplies for dealing with wounds.”

The school board in Newark “approved spending about $15,000 to place 500 of the citizenAID kits in its 11 buildings by this fall. The district also secured licenses for 600 teachers, staff members and others to complete online training for stabilizing gunshot and other wounds.”

Halting the sale of weapons, hiring extra security, turning school buildings into prison-like fortresses, searching students and lockers and using metal detectors will not stop school shootings.

Neither will these first-aid kits and training.

But Ute’s school district is doing something.

And doing something is better than doing nothing.

Kudos to Ute and Newark City Schools for thinking outside the box.

For information visit the CitizenAID USA website at
School district buying kits to help injured in case of school shooting


Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer



Email Russ Kent at with comments or story ideas.