Active shooter drills have become a normal part of life for many students in the United States. Beverly Gardens Elementary School, next to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Riverside, Ohio, began holding shooter drills shortly after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. Beverly Gardens is also one of a small number of schools nationwide that actively trains and arms some of its staff.
As part of our series, “School Matters,” CBS News’ Vladimir Duthiers reported from inside Stephanie Thornton’s fourth grade classroom at Beverly Gardens as kids prepared for the possibility of violence in their school. It’s something they’ve grown accustomed to.
“CBS This Morning” wanted to show parents across the country what the drill looks like when it’s happening live, because it’s one thing to know your children are training to respond to an active shooter, but another thing to see it.
After Principal Cristi Fields announced the drill to students, they sprang into action, barricading the door to their classroom, lining up along a wall out of sight from the door and arming themselves with whatever items they could grab, including pencils, scissors and water bottles.
When Duthiers asked the children if any of them felt scared, nearly every hand went up. But one student said the drills make her feel safer because she knows what to do.
“Watching this I felt very emotional. Seeing what their reality is day to day. But I also feel some reassurance knowing that the school is very prepared… it really seemed like the kids knew exactly what to do,” one parent, Arlene, said.
Another parent, who also teaches at Beverly Gardens, teared up during the drill.
“It’s very emotional… just knowing that this is her reality. This is our nation’s students’ reality and, you know, that we have to have these discussions why we are doing this,” she said.
This training is constantly evolving. Over the course of this year, these kids will also be trained on what to do should their teacher become incapacitated.
To see the drill unfold, watch the video at the top of this page.
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