BARABOO, Wis. - It is something many teachers carry as their worst fear and it is what very few are trained to deal with. The Baraboo School District is changing that by providing active shooter training for all teachers and staff.
“In today’s age, school districts unfortunately have to think about these kinds of protocols and we’d rather be proactive than reactive,” district administrator Dr. Lori Mueller said.
The school district is working with the Baraboo Police Department, Baraboo Emergency Management and Sauk County Emergency Management to provide the scenario-driven training.
The teachers are taught the A.L.I.C.E. protocol, an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
“This wasn’t really something I thought about. In college they teach you how to teach kids to read and write, but they don’t talk about these kinds of scenarios,” elementary school teacher Whitney Bindl said.
The training involves a series of scenarios. Teachers are put in classroom and given a minute to work together to barricade the door and prevent it from being breached. Police officers then try to break into the room.
“It could be that moment of hope,” Baraboo Police Chief Mark Schauf said.
In delaying an active shooter from gaining access to the classroom and students, they give responding police some valuable seconds.
“It is going to take a little bit of time to get there. It will take two, three or five minutes. Nationally the average is eight minutes and a lot can happen in eight minutes,” Schauf said.
The training stresses to teachers the importance of immediately communicating information about the threat. They are encouraged to call 9-1-1 and report the location of an active threat. By informing others in the school as to the location of the threat, teachers can decide to either evacuate with their students or lock down. If confronted by an active threat the teachers are taught to swarm the attacker.
“We have to do whatever we can to help our kids, to help ourselves and make it to another day,” Bindl said.
In addition to putting the teachers and staff through a series of scenarios, they are put in classrooms while a police officer fires blanks from a service weapon in the hallway. The experience allows them to become familiar with what gunfire sounds like in various parts of the building.
The active shooter training is an extension of a program started last year by the school district. That training was focused on re-uniting students with parents following a crisis situation.
All of the training is done in preparation for day they hope never comes.
“We talk about we hope. People are saying we hope this doesn’t happen and they don’t do anything. They don’t do anything and people die. We want to save lives,” Jeff Jelinek, director of the Sauk County Emergency Management, said.
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