While an active shooting may be the unthinkable for many faculty, students, and parents, it is on the forefront of many administrators minds after the events taken place in Newtown, Parkland, and Columbine. These events warranted a change in code from the old ‘lockdown’ code, in which students barricaded themselves in a room,to the new ‘Run Hide Fight’ code, where students either flee, hide, or fight depending on their situation.
During the months of September and October, all staff and students were trained in the new procedure, from the elementary level to the high school level.
Principal Ogren wanted everybody in his building prepared for the possibility of an active shooting.
“We wanted to train everybody in the building, faculty and staff,” said Ogren. “That includes custodians, kitchen workers, everybody.”
Students were later trained in eight smaller sessions during their 20-minute advisory block, “We didn’t want every advisor, with a group of nine or ten, to give their own version, because you might get a slightly different message, we also wanted students to take it very seriously.”
The small, personal sessions were done for a reason: to keep the tone serious, and to keep the message straight.
“The kids asked great questions, and they really did take it seriously,” stated Ogren.
“Run, Hide, Fight” breaks down the protocol. If you can, RUN away from the situation, escaping from nearest exits, or even climbing out of windows. If that is not an option, HIDE, you must find a safe hiding spot, which would be a place that may have two exits, and as a last resort, you need to be prepared to fight, grabbing chairs, desks, brooms, or anything at arms reach to defend yourself.
The new protocol makes changes to the concept of the previous system. Formerly, students and teachers were locked into the room that they were currently in, with no direct means of escape or direction.
“When people are hiding in a room, they’re kind of like sitting ducks,” described Ogren, “That was the unfortunate situation.”
On top of the new “Run Hide Fight” protocol, Region 16 has made other strides over the summer to improve the safety of their campuses, installing door locks with keyholes both inside and outside, and hiring armed guards, a decision that did not come easy for some in the community.
“There is certain criteria [to be an armed guard], you must be a retired police officer, and they must go through certain training, and follow certain protocol,” explained Ogren. “Lenny Rubo is a retired police officer, as well as a retired corrections officer.”
Ogren highlighted the importance of a code red situation like this, and the importance of taking the drills seriously.
“This is the most serious situation. It’s an immediate threat.”