Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



August 10, 2018

FPD Lt. Donnie Kee instructs local educators on security procedures at AHS Wednesday - PHOTO - J. Ritchie, TALON

by Jacque Ritchie TALON

Not so long ago, educators and staff preparing for a new school year would typically draw up a lesson plan, jazz up the classroom with a colorful bulletin board or gather up necessary supplies. These days teachers, staff and administrators also take a full day to learn shelter-in-place, lock down and evacuation procedures in case of an active shooter situation.

Around 100 district school personel attended a Safety & Survival for Schools seminar on Wednesday August 8, at Aztec High School. The security training was presented by SJC Sheriff's Office, Aztec Police Department, Farmington Police Department and the Bloomfield Police Department. Some of the information offered may have seemed like basic common sense stuff. Still, just having it laid out in the spoken word form, read in both power point and in hard copy may be necessary to imprint the information for easier access in an emergency management situation.

In a school shooting situation, teachers, staff and adminstration have now become first responders and are tasked with the awesome responsibility of keeping our kids safe. "People in this room made a lot of good decisions that saved lives that day," said speaker Farmington Police Department Lt. Donnie C. Kee referring to the AHS December 7, 2017 tragedy.

Lt. Kee urged educators to, "set your room up for success," by identifying the safest areas to hide and how to avoid being observed by an attacker. Teachers discussed keeping their doors locked during class, installing blinds on windows and debated lights on versus lights off. AHS principal Dr. Warman Hall said that teachers should make contact with the office before leaving the classroom in the event of an unexpected 'fire drill,' saying, "Use your best judgement...If you smell smoke or see flames then it's probably time to exit the building." One teacher said, "Personally, I am more worried about getting shot than being burned-up in a fire," the comment was met with some nervous laughter.

Lt. Kee encouraged assembled staffers to comment and share their thoughts saying, "Going forward we make corrections based on your real-time experiences to help other schools respond to emergency situations."

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the presentation this reporter observed was when the discussion turned to "Caveman Tools." Teachers were instructed to "run-hide-fight" by arming themselves with makeshift weapons such as baseball bats, golf-clubs and scissors to defend themselves and their students against an attacker with a (automatic?) firearm. Lt. Kee explained that high school age students should be given the option to actively take part in defending themselves, "Kids have a right to protect themselves and each other." Kee advised that students should be allowed to contact their parents via cell phones in the event of an attack. He also said students should tell parents not to call the school or police "we need to keep the lines open," so law enforcement and first responders can communicate with each other. According to Kee students should tell their parents not to come to the school in the event of an attack but to wait for instructions about where to go to be reunited with their students.

Instructor Detective Michele Delese, Farmington PD told TALON, "We offer these kind of trainings county-wide now...These trainings empower our teachers. They learn that they can take charge of their own safety and that of their children."


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