It was only a training exercise and the bullets were only blanks, but the sounds of gunfire echoing through the hallways of local schools shook everyone to the core — teachers, students and staff alike.
In the wake of the recent school violence, and after a strong demand from area schools, the Kentucky State Police with input from school administrators across the state, have developed a program aimed at helping all schools respond effectively during an active shooting incident.
Instructors for the exercise, known as The Safe School Active Shooter Training, were all Kentucky State Police Post 10 troopers. The three-hour training program was set up to give school personnel some idea of what they can do if someone comes into the school brandishing a gun.
KSP first presented the program to the Knox County School Board. With the board’s approval, the troopers took the training first to GR. Hampton Elementary on Jan. 20 training, followed by Flat Lick Elementary on Feb. 3.
Teachers and staff all agreed the first thing they would do is to get their children as far out of harm’s way as possible. The troopers agreed, and discussed with the staff their choices of whether they would run, hide, or fight, depending on the circumstances.
Different staff members chose different actions, depending on what they were experiencing the moment they realized a ‘shooter’ had come into their school.
“We thought it was awesome,” said Denise Smith, office manager at Flat Lick Elementary. “Everyone enjoyed it tremendously and thought it was very beneficial. No one was rushed through it, but at the same time, no one was in a hurry to get out. We want to thank the troopers of Harlan Post 10 that hosted the training. They did such a great job.”
Regardless of what action the staff took throughout the various scenarios, the idea of the Active Shooter training was to give them choices – choices for circumstances that, hopefully, they will never have to face in real life.
The more you rehearse, the more you train, the better you’re going to react,” said KSP Post 10 Public Affairs Officer Shane Jacobs. “The teachers enjoy it, and they tell us they’re grateful for the training. It’s for their safety and the safety of the kids.”
In light of the numerous school shootings in recent history, KSP is offering this free program to all schools throughout the state of Kentucky. Any school in Harlan, Knox or Bell County that would like information on the program or would like to invite the troopers into your school for training can call Lt. Randy Surber at KSP Post 10 at (606) 573-3131.
“We’re going to do whatever we can to get out and show our teachers how to protect themselves and their kids,” said Tpr. Jacobs.