QA’s high school hosts ac­tive shooter train­ing

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME Kjaime@ches­pub.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — As a new school year ap­proaches, the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice and the De­part­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices held ac­tive shooter train­ing at Queen Anne’s County High School Thurs­day, Aug. 16.

The day-long sem­i­nar for ed­u­ca­tors for a wide range of stu­dents was split into a pre­sen­ta­tion dur­ing the morn­ing by Joe Saboury, chief man­age­ment an­a­lyst for the Sher­iff’s Of­fice, and a sim­u­la­tion of an ac­tive shooter in the af­ter­noon.

Train­ing also in­cluded treat­ing gun­shot wounds with the help of a life­like doll used to il­lus­trate the proper way to ban­dage a pa­tient.

“It’s im­por­tant to ed­u­cate teach­ers and stu­dents of their sur­round­ings,” said Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann. “They need to know that crit­i­cal re­sponse be­cause you never know what go­ing to hap­pen as you’ve seen na­tion­wide. We also need to en­sure the safety of the stu­dents and fac­ulty through a plan is some­thing should oc­cur.”

Dur­ing the morn­ing ses­sion, Saboury out­lined pos­si­ble changes in be­hav­ior and aca­demics that could po­ten­tially raise flags

for teach­ers and stu­dents. Among them was the use of so­cial me­dia to in­di­cate po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous be­hav­ior or plans for an at­tack on a lo­ca­tion.

In many cases high­lighted dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, the as­sailant suf­fered a trau­matic emo­tional event and dis­cussed po­ten­tial ac­tion against a per­son or group pf peo­ple. They ex­pressed in­ter­est in par­tic­u­larly vi­o­lent top­ics and some went as far as re­search­ing tac­ti­cal gear they might use for a mass shoot­ing.

Also in many cases, those warn­ing signs were ig­nored ei­ther by other stu­dents or fac­ulty. It was only af­ter an in­ci­dent oc­curred that peo­ple came for­ward to report such be­hav­ior.

“It’s in­cum­bent on ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity from stu­dents to teach­ers and to peo­ple mon­i­tor­ing some­one’s so­cial me­dia to al­ways no­tice a change in be­hav­ior. Then its im­por­tant to com­mu­ni­cate with some­one about those signs that only fam­ily mem­bers and the com­mu­nity sees,” Hof­mann said.

Data col­lected from 2018 Wash­ing­ton Post crime sta­tis­tics in­di­cates that more than 85 per­cent of shoot­ers brought firearms from their own homes or ob­tained them from friends or rel­a­tives. Fur­ther­more, the av­er­age age for a school shooter was 16, and in most cases, in­di­cated their propen­sity for com­mit­ting such a crime.

In one case, a shooter even praised the ac­tions of the per­pe­tra­tors of the Columbine at­tack. The use of a firearm does not even in­di­cate the as­sailant pro­cured it il­le­gally. Of the 143 guns pos­sessed by ac­tive shoot­ers, more than three quar­ters were ob­tained legally. They in­cluded dozens of as­sault weapons and semi-au­to­matic hand­guns with

high-ca­pac­ity mag­a­zines.

Dur­ing the train­ing, fac­ulty were trained to bar­ri­cade en­try points, find po­ten­tial means to sub­due the as­sailant and, if pos­si­ble, run away from the scene. Dur­ing the sim­u­la­tion, they were en­cour­aged to use any­thing of suf­fi­cient size and weight to en­sure a shooter could not en­ter the class­room.

“I’m re­spon­si­ble for over 500 stu­dents and I want to make sure we’re proac­tive to keep ev­ery­one safe,” said Michelle Carey, prin­ci­pal of Ken­nard El­e­men­tary School. “The num­ber of in­ci­dents across the coun­try is fright­en­ing, but it teaches us that it can hap­pen any­where and any­time. I’m go­ing to re­mem­ber all the red flags of a po­ten­tial prob­lem to pro­vide the re­sources for our stu­dents.”

Dr. An­drea Kane, su­per­in­ten­dent of Queen Anne’s County Schools, echoed Carey’s sen­ti­ments not­ing it is ev­ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to train for such events for the sake of their stu­dents. Such train­ing will be of­fered to all em­ploy­ees of the school sys­tem in­clud­ing of­fice and cus­to­dian staff.

The county cur­rently boasts 14 pub­lic schools to­tal­ing 7,717 stu­dents re­turn­ing to classes. Ac­cord­ing to Kane, that means pre­par­ing the nu­mer­ous fac­ulty in train­ing for an ac­tive as­sailant is all the more para­mount.

“What we learned to­day can save your stu­dents’ lives and your life. We have to pri­or­i­tize, which is why we des­ig­nated this time so you can learn and take this back to your staff. We also have to know ev­ery­one won’t re­spond the same way, but that’s why we put plans in place,” said Kane.

PHO­TOS BY KRIS­TIAN JAIME

Becky Tub­man, a teacher spe­cial­ist at Kent Is­land El­e­men­tary School, prac­tices com­pres­sion to con­trol bleed­ing on a life­like torso.

Joe Saboury, chief man­age­ment an­a­lyst for the Sher­iff’s Of­fice, ex­plains the proper pro­ce­dure for rec­og­niz­ing an ac­tive shooter.

Fac­ulty mem­bers were en­cour­aged to learn how to bar­ri­cade the doors of their class­room in case of an ac­tive shooter.

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