AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A school shooting is a parent’s worst nightmare but on Friday, training prepared teachers in Austintown in case the unthinkable happens.
Meanwhile, a boy was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound after another student opened fire at a school in the Columbus area.
Unlike tornado and fire drills, training for an active shooter can be challenging. It’s not as black and white, and teachers are responsible for not only themselves but 20 to 30 students as well.
Austintown police made training as realistic as possible, firing rounds and running around the buildings. The ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training took place at each of the district’s four schools.
Teachers learned that every school shooting situation is different and requires a different response.
“We contemplated leaving and then after, we realized they were so close. I’m glad we never did because they were really close. They moved a lot faster than I expected,” said Carli Cramer, a first-grade teacher.
Every decision a teacher makes also affects each of their students.
“What’re we going to do in a panic situation and how can we stay calm for the kids and not panic them even more?” first-grade teacher Amy Brungard asked.
The elementary school is fairly large with three separate wings. Police shot off 30 rounds but because of the building’s size, not every teacher could hear them. Teachers were encouraged to use the intercom to inform the rest of the school there was a shooter.
After the training, they asked officers and trainers their questions.
“It made me think about what I want to have readily accessible all of the time. I want to have something to break a window. I want to be able to have things to fight if I needed to, know where my keys are at, and just be very aware all of the time,” Cramer said.
During the training, teachers and staff didn’t have their cell phones and didn’t have access to any news so they hadn’t heard about Friday’s shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School.
Hearing the news made Principal Thomas Lenton even more grateful they had the opportunity to complete the training.