The California R-I School staff took part in intruder training on Friday, Aug. 9. The training consisted of classroom sessions in the morning and practical sessions in the afternoon.
Strategos International, which conducted the training, conducts law enforcement and miliary tactical training in addition to school safety sessions. The trainers were current and former law enforcement personnel, Bill Oliver and Erik Baileygaines.
It was emphasized that in case of an actual intrusion, any law enforcement may be some time in arriving on the scene after notification, making the teachers, administrators and staff on the scene the actual first responders.
Oliver said the training is to get the school personnel to think and plan ahead of time. When an emergency arises, "you really default back to your level of training," he said.
With several attacks and threats involving schools in recent years, safety and security have come to the forefront. Although many think of firearms, there have been all sorts of threats in the last few years, including bombs and knives. What the threat consists of isn't important. The reaction is.
"Don't wait for it," Oliver said. "Look for it."
Rather than waiting for something to happen and then reacting to the incident, many school districts have opted for prior training to increase the security in the district, buildings, classrooms and grounds. Camera surveillance is one part of this effort to improve security and California has increased the effort to have on as much of the interior and exterior in view of cameras as possible.
The instructors presented basic information regarding school safety in a number of different scenerios then began identifying weak points and suggesting means of dealing with those. Planning and preparation are important parts of security as is a certain mindset.
Mindset is important if something actually does happen.
"Don't go into survival mode," said Oliver. "Go into prevailing mode."
The afternoon session included an active shooter practices with teachers reacting to "shots fired."
The level of training and preparation increased with each of the simulated actions, with the participants gaining understanding and building confidence in themselves.
Although no training is perfect, it is important to make people consider the "what if" aspects of maintaining a safer and more secure environment for the students, teachers and staff.
As the session ended, several teachers were overheard discussing what they could do in their own classrooms to prepare "just in case." Since the objective of the session was to make people consider how to react in case something happens, the discussions are a positive note for future security.