It can happen in an instant.
And even if incidents of school violence like Columbine are extremely rare and happen miles away, Ingham County officials want to make sure they're ready should something like a high school massacre happen here.
"There's nothing more important to any parent or certainly superintendent than the safety and welfare of students," Superintendent of Leslie Schools, Corey Netzley says.
That's why Netzley and other Ingham County superintendents have spent the last year working closely with the sheriff's office to chalk up a new detailed security plan.
"The teaching staff in this area... they do a good job day in and day out, but they're not police officers. So we need to give them some tools to make their work environment and classrooms safer," Ingham County Sheriff, Gene Wriggelsworth says.
And safer they'll be, but how?
"We're locking doors, we're closing down campuses, we're informing police," Ingham Intermediate Superintendent, Stan Kogut says.
Sounds like the usual right? Wriggelsworth says no, and that this is the best and most detailed county wide emergency program he's ever seen.
The security upgrades don't necessarily come in the form of metal detectors, instead big numbers outside of every entrance at Ingham County Schools. The idea is to let police inside the building at a much faster pace.
"So we can tell a police officer when they respond that they need to go in door ten as opposed to the cafeteria doors when they don't even know where that is," Wriggelsworth says.
And while he and the superintendents know nothing guarantees safety...
"Sometimes things happen no matter how well planned, no matter how secure the situation is," Netzley says.
They say they're just happy in knowing that their actions could help save a life if heaven forbid school violence strikes Ingham County.