MES participates in Active Shooter Training

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2019

While students were out of school Monday, teachers and staff at Middlesboro Elementary School trained for something they hope will never happen — a school shooting.

The Kentucky State Police Post 10 in Harlan provided training for an active shooter, using realistic scenarios and offering instruction on how to react quickly to prevent or limit any harm to students and themselves.

“Taking care of our kids and protecting them is the number one priority,” said Middlesboro Elementary School Principal Randy Rose. “So anything that we can learn or any training that we can take is 100 percent worth it.

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“The high school and the middle school have already been through this training this year, so we are the third school,” Rose said.

“School safety has been the number one priority for the Middlesboro Board of Education and as well as myself,” Superintendent Waylon Allen said.

“Many proactive precautions have been taken, such as new coded door locks, new vestibules, and most recently, our faculty and staff have completed the “Active Shooter Training” with Kentucky State Police,” Allen said. “We are very pleased with our district’s progress, but we will never be content with school safety.”

Rose worked with Trooper Danny Caudill with Post 10 to schedule the training. It included lessons and discussions, as well as real-life scenarios to give everyone an idea of what an actual shooting would look and sound like.

“We went through a PowerPoint that was an hour long to get us ready for the day,” Rose said. “We were given statistics and then the actual training.”

The first stage of the training focused on self-defense skills.

“We were taught to throw a correct punch without hurting yourself and then you move on to the second scenario,” he said. “You are actually sitting in a room and you hear some gunshots and you see the actual shooter run by, and then the officers asks the participants whether or not they recognize that person or if they could make a good police report. It is pretty intense and there are actual blanks being shot, and it’s very loud.”

The troopers pointed out that making a good description of the person and paying attention and alert during those times is very important, even though it’s hard to do.

The next scenario they experienced was shots being fired and classes going into lockdown mode.

“Our rooms are always locked anyway but at that time, the teacher would move students to the safest place in the room, turn out the lights, barricade the door and be ready to protect the kids,” Rose said. “It was practicing in real time how quickly things happen and that was a good scenario.”

Rose said they were taught three things throughout the day — “Run, hide, fight.”

“That’s the three things that they wanted us to do in order,” he said. “We were trained that if you hear gunshots and you’re put into that position, if running is an option that is always first. But getting kids out of harm’s way is the most important.”

Another scenario involved a shooter entering a classroom.

The training is designed to have teachers or others in the room act immediately.

“If you do nothing then your chances of averting disaster decrease,” he said. “So, you are forced into action. That’s what you have to do and that’s what that last scenario is about, and that is to take the attacker out.”

Rose describes the day as fast-paced and full of adrenaline.

“It puts you in a different mindset and a lot of teachers came to me today saying they thought about it all night because it really provides an alert level that we are not always accustomed to,” Rose said. “It was a great training, everyone was really impressed and we were thankful that the state police came out to do that with us.”

About 10 troopers were involved in the training, Rose said.

“They talked to us about the different safety measures and answered any questions that we had,” he said. “We pray that nothing like that ever happens but just in case, we feel that we are better trained to take care of our kids and that is our number one job here.”