East High active shooter drill simulates real gunfire
An active shooter drill at East High School on Monday simulated the sound of gunshots.
“This is just a drill,” the principal announced over the intercom before the school’s resource officer fired blanks in the hallway.
In this scenario the shooter was in the northwest corner of the building. Students in that part of the school stayed put and barricaded themselves in the classrooms, piling desks, chairs and tables against the door; the rest of the classrooms evacuated.
"We asked the teachers to explain what the procedure was going to be in their classroom, if the shooting was close to their classroom or away from their classroom,” said principal Sam Spinella.
Assistant Principal Josh Green walked through the halls as the officer was firing to see how the classrooms reacted.
“The shooter is a middle-aged, dark male with black hair wearing a Carhartt jacket,” Spinella gave the description over the intercom.
Green said in a real incident he would be looking over the security cameras to spot the shooter and alert the rest of the staff.
The purpose of this training is to teach students what gunfire sounds like.
“So many times you read about these active shooter situations where they hear a gun going off like that and they think it's something different,” Green explained. “You're programmed to think ‘I'm safe all the time,’ right, so when you hear something like that you think, 'I've got to take some action on this.'”
The drill showed where the school needs improvements. As the “shooter” moved through the hallway, many classrooms were dark with furniture blocking the door. There was at least one classroom, though, where students were visible from the door and their laughter carried into the hall.
Spinella said staff sent an email to parents on Friday so they could talk to their kids about the training over the weekend. There was also a robo-phone call Sunday night to remind them about the drill.
“We don’t want to scare them. We want this to become as close to reality as possible,” Spinella said.
Green said the drill was not in response to the latest deadly school shooting in Florida; the training had been planned for weeks.
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