Teachers, emergency responders tested in fake school shooting
More than 100 students, some with fake gun shot wounds, filled the halls of Lakewood Elementary School during the training exercise.
Over 100 students filled the hall, acting as gunshot victims. The fake blood-splattered teens grabbed at officers’ legs and screamed to test teachers and officers as they tried to deal with the shooting as they would in a real scenario.
The exercise marks the third large-scale fake shooting in St. Charles, with the first two taking place at Ethel Schoeffner and Luling elementaries in past years. Lakewood students were released early and bussed to alternate locations so that they would not be present for the exercise.
Superintendent Rodney Lafon said that he considered the event part of professional development for his faculty and staff.
“Part of teaching and learning is that people have to be safe,” Lafon said during a briefing before the event. “Hopefully we’ll never have to do the real thing…but we need to be ready.”
Captain Rodney Madere with the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office oversaw the exercise and said that it may be even more important for teachers than officers.
“(Teachers) will save more lives than we will as the police,” Madere said. “Shooters usually are gone or commit suicide before the police arrive.”
Madere said that the exercise will help teachers to recognize the sound of gunshots in their school and to know how they will react if such an event should ever happen.
This is the first year that the school district’s central office employees and the sheriff’s public information employees have played along. Instead of working at the exercise to direct media, the employees stayed at their posts until the call came in about the shooting - just as they would in a real shooting.
Rochelle Cancienne-Touchard, director of public information for the school district, said that the exercise was successful overall.
“I think all parties who participated accomplished their goals,” she said. “Even though people know it’s a simulation, once things start happening…your adrenaline starts running. It gives an opportunity for our people to have to react.
“I think we are fortunate to be able to do something of this magnitude so that we are prepared. The planning and preparation that goes into this will allow us to be as prepared as possible in the event that something like this should ever occur.”
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