Poplar Bluff school takes part in active shooter training - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Poplar Bluff school takes part in active shooter training

Administrators and high school teachers in Poplar Bluff took part in active shooter training less than a month ago, and have scheduled more. Administrators and high school teachers in Poplar Bluff took part in active shooter training less than a month ago, and have scheduled more.
During training at PBHS in late November, history teacher Paul Conover played the role of intruder. During training at PBHS in late November, history teacher Paul Conover played the role of intruder.
Teachers say they know the proactive approach makes students feel safer. Teachers say they know the proactive approach makes students feel safer.
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

Schools across the Heartland continue to react to the Sandy Hook shooting, and now take even further steps to keep your kids as safe as possible.

In fact, administrators and high school teachers in Poplar Bluff took part in active shooter training less than a month ago, and have scheduled more.

The ‘ALICE' training through the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Public Safety is available for schools, businesses or churches to teach them what to do if a shooter should take aim at their building.

Poplar Bluff administrators now scheduled the training for their elementary schools in their efforts to keep campuses safer.

"We take this very seriously," said Superintendent Chris Hon.

"It's a new philosophy," Hon said of the recent training. "It moves away from just going on lockdown and gives teachers options as far as what to do to make the best choice to keep their students out of harms way."

"It stands for Alert, Lockdown, Informer, Counter, Evacuate," said Lt. Kenny Mayberry with the University Police. "It's a layered approach started in 2008. We have had more calls from various area schools and organizations since Friday. You know, you start training for a fire drill when you're five years old. We think kids should have the same training now in case they are in danger of a violent attack."

During training at PBHS in late November, history teacher Paul Conover played the role of intruder.

"It was very emotional for me to play the bad guy," said Conover. "I had a rubber gun and I had to point it at my coworkers and pretend to be shooting them. It shows you how to take action. I think it's important no matter how safe you feel to know how to protect our students and have these important discussions."

Conover and other teachers say the course made an impact.

"Before the training when I went in they all sat there and looked at me," said Conover. "After the training they reacted by throwing things at me and trying to tackle me."

"We know this is a community challenge," said Superintendent Chris Hon.

Hon says the district is in the process of building assessments, scheduling parent meetings, and deciding how to best train and talk to students of all ages.

"We want there to be awareness not fear," said Hon. "We are talking to teachers, law enforcement, parents and students to gather feedback and doing a lot of listening so we can make sure we are as safe as we can be. We want to develop an even better strategy."

High School Principal Mike Kiehne says several security officers are on campus at all times, as well as four administrators and numerous faculty who monitor hallways.

"Some of our teachers have chosen to keep their doors locked now. We want to keep the heightened sense of awareness. We don't want to forget a few months from now. We always need to do everything we can to stay on alert in our classrooms and on our campuses."

Kiehne says they also work to keep students in the loop because often they are the ones who are able to thwart a plan.

"You never know when evil is going to strike but I feel like if you've got a plan and you're out and about you can keep a lot of things from happening," said Principal Kiehne.

Teachers say they know the proactive approach makes students feel safer.

"Students are all concerned," said teacher Christopher Martinez. "They're just happy that we're talking about it. It's a life thing now, not just a school thing it can happen anywhere."

"All of my students have wanted to discuss it," said Art teacher Debbie Dunnegan. "You have a responsibility when you go into teaching and it is to protect. "I think your instincts would kick in you would protect you students."

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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