Area teachers learn how to deal with active shooters

2/12/2013
BLADE STAFF
Cathy Aviles, left, principal at Black River Middle School in Sullivan, Ohio, and Ashland County Deputy Angie Hamilton listen during an Active Shooter Training for Educators Course for educators and law enforcement at the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West.
Cathy Aviles, left, principal at Black River Middle School in Sullivan, Ohio, and Ashland County Deputy Angie Hamilton listen during an Active Shooter Training for Educators Course for educators and law enforcement at the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West.

Dozens of area teachers and law enforcement officers attended a training session presented by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office today on how to recognize, plan for, and react to active shooters in schools.

The course, which was free and held at the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West, 2275 Collingwood Blvd., did not include firearms training. Instead, it focused on how schools and law enforcement can prepare to respond in active shooter scenarios, and gave tips for school staff on how to react if there is a shooter on a school campus.

James Burke, center, a law enforcement training officer with the Attorney General's Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, center, conducts the course.
James Burke, center, a law enforcement training officer with the Attorney General's Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, center, conducts the course.

"Everyone of you has a right to feel safe in your job," said James Burke, a law enforcement training officer with Mr. DeWine's office. "Every one of your students has a right to feel safe in their school."

Participants were shown how school shooters at Columbine and Virginia Tech planned their massacres well in advance, and gave warning signs that were ignored before the shootings. Mr. Burke emphasized being aware of those signs and not convincing yourself that there's nothing wrong.

"See something, say something," he said. "Don't talk yourself out of it."

The training also covered what to do if a shooter is in a building or even in a classroom, with Mr. Burke telling attendees they need to be aware of their surroundings, and prepared to flee or even fight if necessary. Most mass public shootings last about seven minutes, with eight people killed a minute, so strategies to keep a shooter away or to escape within that time frame are paramount.