Wednesday, October 23, 2013
While hurricane, tornado and earthquake drills are part of the norm at schools, it was another that captivated Cane Bay Middle on Thursday morning: an active shooter drill.
The scene featured simulated shooting with unloaded guns, fire trucks, ambulances and over a dozen police vehicles filing into the front of the building. Berkeley County Safety and Security Office Tim Knight said that simulating the intensity of a real situation is imperative.
“It’s difficult because you can only simulate everything so far,” he said. “We put makeup on the victims to simulate wounds, we have uniformed law personnel doing room-to-room check with unloaded firearms, the more realistic the better.”
Multiple simulated gunmen, played by police officers, entered the school. The first one “shot” a PE student and teacher, taking the key to the school and entering the side. The next assailant acted as a parent, shot the front office attendant, then preceded to the school. A total of three students and two faculty members were simulated casualties of the drill.
Officers from the Berkeley County Sherriff’s Office, Goose Creek police force and the Charleston force all entered the school and apprehended the perpetrators. CBMS Principal Deon Jackson hopes the drill has helped the faculty and parents feel more protected.
“It’s certainly my hope for the staff is now more prepared and the parents are more secure,” he said.
With eight fatal school shootings in the U.S. since the start of the 2012-13 school year, including the Dec.14 massacre in Newtown, Conn., the need for awareness is pressing, said Knight.
“These types of critical incidents at school with gunmen who have the intent to hurt people have increased,” Knight said. “We want to work more with the law and prepare for if, God forbid, one happens.”
Each year a school is selected to be the host of the training exercise. Jackson said the school is fortunate to be selected.