The Canton School District is just days away from its new school year and its administration wants to make sure they are prepared for everything – that includes what to do in the event of an active shooter.
Monday, they teamed up with local law enforcement to help teach all of the district’s teachers and faculty what to do if this were to happen to them.
“We know that these events have happened in both large and small communities everywhere,” says Public Safety Director Richard Fairburn, “So I think it’s important that the staff in the school – the teachers, the custodians, and everyone else understand that they have a part to play in this.”
In the ALICE Program, participants undergo seven scenarios that give a controlled but accurate glimpse into what an active shooter event would look and feel like.
“It is easy to sit in a classroom and talk about something, but when you get up out of those chairs and you practice some of these scenarios that is really going to get ingrained into them and they’re more likely to respond if it does happen to them,” says Fairburn.
This was a scary yet eye-opening event for participants.
“It is very nerve racking, the first one was very hard because it showed how wrong we are doing it,” says Melissa Edwards, teacher at Eastview Elementary.
The realistic approach helped many Canton faculty members feel better prepared to keep their students safe in an active shooter situation.
“You know what to do if a situation should arise,” says Eastview secretary Jenny Nichols, “So you’re not trying to figure out what to do, you just have a reaction, you know exactly what is going to happen.”
Though the scenarios were both intense and alarming, all agree the top priority is keeping the students safe.
“We want to make sure that these moms, dads, aunts and uncles are dropping their kids off to the safest place they could ever be,” says Edwards.
Since each active shooter event is different, participants weren’t taught sequential steps. They learned different techniques that require instant decision-making.
The goal of Monday was to help them feel confident in their judgment calls ahead of the start of a new school year.