In the wake of an effective school safety-training event, participants have said they appreciated the information provided by the Kentucky State Police. The state police provide free active shooter training to schools and other facilities across the state.
While the fear of a school shooting is a horrible scenario to consider, the Wayne County School and Immanuel Christian Academy staffs were made more aware of ways to combat the unthinkable if it were ever to occur during a recent extra training event. The training is applicable, not just for schools, but for places like: public buildings, theaters, and churches.
“These incidents can happen anywhere. In parking lots, military bases, churches and schools,” noted the trainer. “You have to be prepared in case it happens.”
While school staffs are trained more on curriculum, instruction, technology, and a host of things that benefit children – how to defend themselves in a shooting incident is now part of their preparation too, since it is best to be proactive.
“We’re caring and loving teachers,” said Walker Early Learning Center Preschool Teacher Sharlene Prince. “So, trying to understand why an individual would commit such an awful deed is against everything we believe.”
“It’s hard to believe someone could be so heartless,” said another local teacher, after viewing one of the actual school shooting video clips the state police shared with the educators.
With the safety of the students always foremost on educators’ minds, the state police provided an instructional program to help them feel slightly more comfortable, if forced to make an emergency decision in protecting students. “Getting a child out is your best option,” recommended the trainer.
While the debate continues on how best to prevent these violent episodes across the country, the state police reinforced the significance of having a school resource officer (which Wayne County Schools do have) because the position serves as a deterant.
The training included an informative lecture and video presentation, followed up with the staff being broken into small groups focusing on awareness, preparation and rehearsal. They were given tips on how to react to an intruder and best practices during a lock down drill.
“Run, hide and fight” were the general recommendations to follow depending on the situation. “This is not a secret. We are going to train to run to safety. Realize when to hide and know when the final recourse is to fight,” said the trainer."Only when life is in imminent danger, should an individual attempt to disrupt or incapacitate an active shooter."
The officers told those in the small groups to take their love for their students and be able to reach inside themselves and bring out an ability to fight when forced to do so.
The staff learned these methods and put into place the details associated with the practices. They learned about positioning and building a barricade inside their classroom door as a temporary determent. They even had an opportunity to learn to fight with a pretend intruder. They formulated a pre-planned escape route in their minds associated with their individual classrooms.
Every school is different as far as the logistics of the building, so it was important for educators to review their emergency plans and understand their options.
“We have a safe school plan that covers a wide range of events,” said WCMS Staff Member Eric Huffaker. “We regularly train our students on these procedures.”
KY State Police Tooper Craig Reed speaks to a small group in a classroom
Participants listened to tips from the trainer
KY State Police Officer Jesse Armstrong provided information to combat an active shooter
Officer portrays an intruder and staff learns to go on offense
Officer Armstrong broke the ice with teachers at the conclusion of a mock scenario
Officer offers suggestions on how to hide in a classroom and where to position yourself
Staff members quickly building a barricade in a classroom at Bell Elementary during a mock scenario
Teachers learn from law enforcement
Captain Todd Dalton, Commander of Post 11 coordinated the local training event
Local officers discuss training techniques being practiced at the high school
WCHS Staff broke into small group training
WCMS Staff Training
KY State Police Trainer discusses safety options with Walker ELC Principal, Angela Ballinger