How prepared are our schools for an active shooter situation?

After the Columbine Shooting in 1999, our local schools and safety officials have made prevention a priority.

"So each school was required at that point to develop emergency response planning for each school building that they owned," said Brian Derochie, School Community Outreach Coordinator for the New York State Police, Troop D.

But three years ago, Brian Derochie of the State Police said there was confusion around the terms used in emergency situations. From here, a template was implemented.

"Which standardized the terminologies within schools and that's no secret. There's shelter in place, hold in place, evacuation, lock out and then the worst case scenario would be a lock down," Derochie said.

Derochie said each school is required to have four lock downs per year.

"Locking the door is obviously the most difficult thing to do under stressful situations and then trying to manage the students in the class. And that's where practicing comes into play," Derochie said.

Something MVCC does every year. The university has table-top exercises with an active shooter scenario, a situation the school has a plan for.

"We have New York Alert that brings it together. Uhm, on our campus the public safety would take the first lead on it and determine what process should be handled," said Marianne Buttenschon, the Dean of Institute for Emergency Preparedness Public Service.

And while the focus is mainly on schools, Derochie said it can happen anywhere.

"It's a society issue. It's happening throughout our country in all different locations. So the more we can educate students, they're going to take that education with them throughout their life," Derochie said.

Derochie said both staff and students take these emergency drills seriously because of the reality of what could happen.

 


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