Active shooter drills become as common as fire drills for Sarasota County schools
SARASOTA - Sarasota County School’s Police Department Chief Tim Enos says active shooter drills will now be as common as fire drills.
“We have a lock down drill, or an active shooter drill every single month as long as school is in session based upon we have ten fire drills a year so we have to have as many lock down or active shooter drills as we do as any other drill," says Chief Enos.
The decision by the school board Tuesday night to enact this controversial policy is an extension of a practice the schools have been conducting since January.
Chief Enos says anyone on school campus can call for a lockdown. “When a lockdown is initiated there’s going to be an automated response that’s going to go out through all of the intercom system to lock down. The students go to the safe corner, their blinds are draw, the lights are off and they are quiet in there. We want to make those classrooms look as vacant as possible," says Chief Enos.
He adds at this time the drills don’t involve students having to run or escape from a simulated shooter. Parents may find themselves questioning how to explain such a touchy subject to their kids.
Licensed Psychologist Dr. Eddy Regnier says recognizing age appropriate avenues to explain to your children the need for an active shooter drill is pertinent.
“Six year olds, seven year olds, eight year olds are the most trusting people. If you tell them this is to keep you safe so that no one gets harmed. This is so that strangers don’t come here to hurt anybody, it’s interesting, those kids will be very cooperative, and they’ll even help you," says Dr. Regnier.
Alternatively, older children may find coping more difficult since they have a more mature understanding of the reality of these turbulent times.
“So, that group comes to school scared. So to know that the school is prepared for them and the school has safety drills in place is probably reassuring," says Dr. Regnier.