FAWN TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. — One York County school district is taking action to prepare for the worst.
Active shooter safety drills are becoming more commonplace for school administrators who are looking at ways to keep kids safe.
It’s not just school administrators with the Southeastern School District who are getting prepared, but an emergency response team made up of local and state police as well as emergency management.
It was training day for a day no one wants to come.
southeastern school district superintendent Jeffrey Hughes said “any opportunity that we can get, to complete a drill, to reevaluate our plan, to improve our plan, over a period of time is well worth the time and effort.”
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper James Spencer said “it helps the teachers. They realize what they need to do, whether that’s run, hide, or fight. They need to learn that they need to act. That’s the most important thing that they can do.”
Harford County, Maryland Sheriff, and York County EMS crews, along with Pennsylvania State Police descended upon Fawn Area Elementary School in an effort to practice responding to an active shooter situation.
“It helps us know the layout of school, whether or not where the shooter is, How we’re going to best respond. It works on our response times, because unfortunately with active shooters, time is of the essence,” Spencer said.
“We have safety plans, and it’s always great to bring in experts, safety experts that can give us feedback, what are we doing well, what areas do we need to continue to try to improve,” Hughes said.
The safety drill was in the planning stages, months before Wednesday’s deadly school shooting in Florida. Some may wonder if the timing for a drill is right.
“We’re not trying to be insensitive to anything that has happened. As a school community, we feel very, very passionately and strongly, and provide support to our colleagues, and to our friends in Florida,” Hughes said.
Here in central Pennsylvania, police and school administrators are preparing for a worst case scenario.
“You have to run through your mind, if this guy does this, what am I going to do? What if he puts the gun down? Alright, well now I have to back off. He’s no longer a lethal force option. I’ve got to go through my steps of taking that person into custody, and finding what help that guy needs,” Spencer said.
“After the drill is done, we’ll try to debrief, we’ll have those discussions, and it always helps us, to make sure that the number one priority is that our students and our staff are safe,” Hughes said.