Using a rubber gun with rubber bullets, deputy Randy Weller demonstrates how easy the target is for an active shooter when people huddle together in a room. (Putnam Sentinel/Nancy Kline)
Using a rubber gun with rubber bullets, deputy Randy Weller demonstrates how easy the target is for an active shooter when people huddle together in a room. (Putnam Sentinel/Nancy Kline)

LEIPSIC — It was a difficult for Leipsic teachers to watch the video playing in the auditeria on Monday morning. The scene on the screen was actual footage from within the library at Columbine during the shooting spree on April 20, 1999, by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. Twelve students and one teacher were killed that day and 23 injured before Klebold and Harris shot themselves.

“Unfortunately this is real life,” said Pandora Police Chief Scott Stant. Stant, Leipsic Police Chief Dennis Cupp, Putnam County Deputies Randy Weller and Brian Siefker and Mike Klear with the Putnam County Educational Service Center were at the school to provide ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evaluate) training to the nearly 70 teachers in attendance.

“Our early training for a lock-down was to stay under a table and stay quiet,” Stant said. “As you can see in this video it was the worst thing you can do.”

“Lockdown Only” strategies are what most schools used over 20 years ago (pre-Columbine). It revolved around the idea that if an active shooter is inside a school, faculty, staff and students sit in the corner and stay put until the threat is resolved.

It was found that lockdown-only actually gave the shooter what he or she wanted, a lot of people locked in a building in several compact spaces, making easy targets.

This was demonstrated when the Leipsic teachers were placed in three classrooms. The officers using rubber guns with rubber bullets walked into each classroom shooting the teachers crowded together against a wall. Following the demonstration, Stant asked how many had been hit by rubber bullets. Seventeen raised their hands.

“When we are done with the training, we should have lowered that number to one or two,” he said. He told teachers the training they received on Monday could be used in any shooting situation. “Things have changed,” Stant said. “Now we are seeing shootings in schools, malls, movie theaters and even in restaurants.”

The training involved teaching administrators, teachers and students how to be a hard target. This involved making it difficult for a shooter to enter a room by blocking the door, not just locking it; distracting the shooter by throwing anything available at them including, chairs, books, and computers.

Teachers received one-on-one training in what to do if approached by someone aiming a rifle, gun or knife at them. They also learned how to pin a shooter down by sitting on their arms, legs and neck.

“If you knock a gun loose place it in a trash can,” Stant said. “Don’t pick it up and carry it out. The law enforcement are looking for an active shooter and they may think it is you.”

The ALICE training began four years ago in Putnam County through a grant received at the Putnam County Educational Service Center. Klear said they now have over 1,000 people in the county who have received ALICE training.

Stant stressed the importance of using radios for communication and the importance to train, train, train in being prepared for an active situation. He recommended the school practice this unannounced in the school.

“We have changed how we teach, now we are having to make changes in how we secure our buildings and students,” said Leipsic Superintendent Greg Williamson. He said they arranged this waiver day and training for Leipsic teachers and administrators to give them the tools they may need if a situation should occur.

“We also want to develop a laundry list of changes we can make within the school to make it safer,” Williamson said.

story created on Monday 2/10/2014 at 4:28:52 pm by Nancy Kline
story modified on Tuesday 2/11/2014 at 6:49:44 pm by Kirk Dougal