First-ever ‘full-scale’ active shooter drill Wednesday at Northmont Schools

Students will hear gunfire Wednesday at Northmont Middle School, part of the district’s first-ever “full-scale” active shooter drill that also will teach basic first aid for gunshots.

Motorists who drive by the middle school Wednesday will see signs warning that while what they are seeing will look real, it is a drill.

Parents said they are conflicted.

“It is a hard balance,” Donna Smith said.

“I’m kind of on the fence about it,” Brian Joslin said. “Kids should be more prepared. On the other hand, are we going too far?”

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District leaders said this is the way to make sure students, teachers, staff, police and the community are ready in the event of an active shooter.

“This is not what school officials would like to be doing, but we don’t want to not be prepared and that’s what this is all about,” Northmont City Schools Superintendent Tony Thomas said.

Police officers will be shooting blanks, and Premier Health officials will teach basic first aid.

Thomas said the district started working on this after sending a group of students to the Statehouse last year.

“One of the things that came out of that was the students would like to do more types of drills that were real, as well as just more drills,” he said.

Thomas said faculty spend the majority of its time of programs to make students feel welcome and safe at school.

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Guidance counselors and mental health experts will be at the school Wednesday for debriefs after the drill.

“Whether it’s like a fire drill to them or something more traumatic, we want to make sure we address it,” Thomas said.

New state requirements mean every school building must do a full-scale exercise every three years. Northmont’s drill goes beyond the requirement, but Thomas said it’s likely there will be more training like this soon around the state.

The drill will start at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

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