When active shooter training first began, staff would teach students to hide under desks. Now that active shootings in schools have become more mainstream, staff and students require different training.

Faribault schools have protocols, including a partnership with the local police departments and use of technology, in place if an active shooting happens on campus.

Faribault School District Superintendent Todd Sesker said that each of the public schools host five drills throughout the year.

In the past, the school district has invited experts to teach the staff what to do in case of an emergency like an active shooter. The content of those workshops are still being used today to help students and staff practice staying safe while participating in drills.

After the events of Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 − where 20 students and six staff members were fatally shot in Newtown, Connecticut − protocol has changed. Students are no longer hiding under desks and hoping for the best, but they are now taking actions into their own hands.

Sesker said that students and staff are taught to make a barrier between themselves and the shooter. If able, they can stack desks and other school equipment in front of doors or windows to create obstacles for the shooter. The goal of this is to do anything they can to disrupt the shooter. Sesker also said staff are encouraged to lead students out of the building rather than staying put in the classroom if they believe it’s safe to do so.

If barricading the doors and windows or fleeing the building are not options, Sesker said students and staff are taught to line up against the same wall as the door to make it appear as if the classroom is empty.

“We hope this never happens, but we have to be prepared,” Sesker said.

Besides practicing drills, the school district also works with local law enforcement. The Faribault Police Department uses the school district’s facilities to conduct training while both students and staff are out of the building.

Jason Severson, a police captain for the Faribault Police Department, said training in the schools can be very chaotic, but it accurately prepares those involved for what to expect during a real scenario.

Severson said that, typically, active shootings take place very quickly and can sometimes be over by the time law enforcement arrives at the scene. Staff and students are taught to lock the doors, hide in the corner of their rooms out of sight and to stay as quiet as possible.

“We want to see them [the students] take action and try to protect themselves,” said Severson.

Local fire department staff, paramedics and police departments all work together to quickly and effectively clear and secure the building.

“All officers are trained together,” Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn said. “We all go in together, no matter what color we wear or where we work.”

In the MnSCU system, which has 54 campuses including Faribault’s South Central College and more than 430,000 students statewide, emergency procedures are commonly posted in classrooms, distributed through email and included in student handbooks, MnSCU spokesman Doug Anderson said. Campuses are required to test emergency response plans each year and campus-wide lockdown procedures that would generally apply to active shooter situations are often selected for those tests, he said.

He said recent updates include a new system-wide emergency alert system and remote locking systems.

“Student and employee safety is a priority for us, which is why in addition to the measures we’ve already taken in terms of emergency notification, we’ve also made a commitment this year to further enhance the safety of our college by evaluating and improving our processes wherever necessary and determining if there’s a need for additional resources,” SCC president Dr. Annette Parker said.

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Source: ABC News

Brittney covers education and youth-related issues in Rice County. Reach her in Northfield at 507-645-1115, in Faribault at 333-3132, or follow her on Twitter @BrittneyNeset. The Associate Press contributed to this story.

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