QA’s high school hosts active shooter training
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
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.
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.