A middle-school in St. Paul conducted an elaborate school-shooting drill yesterday, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We’ve been doing fire drills for years and it’s a shame that we have to move into this kind of drill, but we need to relate it to the kids the same way: This is to keep you safe, this is to prepare,” said Will Waterkamp, St. Paul Public Schools safety and security administrator. “We have to do these things so you aren’t later on saying, ‘Why didn’t we prepare for that?’ ” Though planning was in the works for nine months, the drill’s scenario had similarities to school shootings in Colorado and Pennsylvania in recent weeks.
The first call was from a St. Paul police school resource officer inside the school: “Student down, send squads. Shots fired, Hazel Park Middle School.” Then came an alert that an officer was down. Next, word of the suspects detonating explosives, hostages taken in the cafeteria and multiple students with gunshot wounds. The two suspects were adults, intruders who had entered the school in ski masks and black jackets. The “injured” students, some with makeup that looked like blood on their arms and faces, were brought out of the school and triaged by the ambulances that already had gathered. Schools around the country are engaged in similar planning, but most “not to this degree,” said Andy Burchfield of Marsh USA Inc., a New York company that facilitated Thursday’s drill. “This is a very aggressive exercise,” he said. St. Paul schools got an emergency response and management grant from the U.S. Department of Education that funded Thursday’s $130,000 drill and other training.