Queen City ISD trains to protect
When it comes to keeping students safe, the staff at Queen City I.S.D. take their job very seriously.
Local law enforcement and Region 8 Education Service Center safety consultants held ALICE Training last Friday at the Morris Upchurch Middle School in Queen City. ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) is a response training that provides options based strategic methods against the active threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event, whether it is an attack by an individual person or by an international group of professionals.
There were three shooter simulation drills. During the first two drills, staff was divided into different classrooms, some posing as students and others as teachers. Drill one was simulating what would have happened if an active shooter(s) entered the building without warning and before training was implemented within the school system. The “shooters” made their way down the hallway, the sound of gunshots and yelling echoed through the air, followed by screams from other classrooms. The “shooters” entered the classrooms firing shots, as staff and “students” scrambled in a panic, huddling in corners and shielding themselves with over-turned desks and other objects. Nine people were “shot” during the first drill, which in a real-life scenario could have proven fatal.
During drill two, “students” were told to go in the hallway as if they were changing classes, when it was announced that there was an active shooter in the building over the intercom. Then, ALICE was implemented. Staff and “students” ran to their classroom, shut and locked the door, found a way to cover the window to the door and brave staff members stayed in the classroom and guided “students” out of the window, where they fled on foot away from the scene. No one reported getting “shot” during the second drill.
After it was announced that the drills were over, staff were told to come back into the auditorium for a Question and Answer portion of the training. Rattled and out of breath, everyone took their seat. Unexpectedly, there was one last drill to be had. The “shooters” blasted rounds in the air, and some staff hid behind brick walls and others ran out side doors in a panic.
State Troopers, James Ammons, Ethan Sartor, Shane Lawrence and David Stewart, along with Sheriff Larry Rowe and Lee Gill, School Safety Consultant from Region 8 ESC, posed as the “active shooters”, firing weapons with blanks and others loaded with what Trooper Stewart described as small plastic projectile.
Trooper Lawrence said when hit with the plastic rounds, it feels like a bee sting. Shots weren’t fired directly at any individual during the drill, but like any round that is being shot with moving targets ricocheting off of other objects, it’s inevitable that someone will get hit. All who were participating wore protective eyewear.
Teachers will be working with actual students throughout the year with training and drills to teach them how to be prepared in a real-life situation.
“I feel it is a sign of the time that we now live in for schools to have to spend time learning to defend staff and students from active shooters/intruders in school,” said Superintendent Charlotte Williams. “However, the fact is school leaders can no longer take an ‘if it ever happens here’ approach. Leaders must prepare for the ‘when it happens here’ scenario. It is necessary that the Queen City leadership team spends time and resources preparing the staff at Queen City ISD to defend our students when necessary. There is nothing more important than protecting our students and our staff.”