Police fired off blank rounds during an active shooter drill at a school in Pennsylvania

Active Shooter Training

  • A Pittsburgh-area high school held an active shooter drill on Thursday where blanks were fired in school hallways to simulate gunfire.
  • The drill was met with controversy that it will unnecessarily traumatize students, instead of leaving them feeling prepared.
  • „I do understand that we need to be prepared and the teachers and staff did a good job calming down any students that were nervous about the drill,“ an anonymous sophomore at the school shared with INSIDER.

 

A letter sent home to parents of students at Bethel Park High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shared that in an active shooter drill held Thursday, blanks were fired to simulate the sound of gunshots.

„The faculty and staff have been apprised of the situation and over the next few days the students will be shown a PowerPoint in homeroom, providing them with the needed information,“ the letter to parents read.

During the drill — conducted by police officers and a trained A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) team on Thursday — police officers fired blank rounds in the school hallways to expose students and faculty to the sound of gunfire in the building.

„When I first heard that we were doing A.L.I.C.E. drills, I was excited that the schools were looking out for out safety in a situation like that,“ a sophomore at Bethel Park who wished to remain anonymous told INSIDER. „Then I found out they were going to be firing blank shots out of a gun from somewhere in the school. It does make perfect sense to simulate the sounds and experience of an active shooter situation, but as a student with pretty severe anxiety I was worried.“

„Once the drill was in action out secretary came on the loudspeaker and told us the location of the ’shooter‘ and it was up to the teachers and students to decide whether to lockdown or evacuate. My class decided it was safest for us to evacuate. We left through some back doors and were safely outside within a minute. Students that locked down were to barricade the doors with tables desks and chairs. Some of my friends had to lockdown and they said that everyone was pretty calm,“ the student told INSIDER.

The drill was met with mixed reviews on social media and within the community by students and family members.

„Why not give them the tools to be ready for it instead of being worried about a traumatic experience of what could be a traumatic experience?“ Nicki Sink, whose daughter is a junior at the school, told WPXI.

„Even though they were told ahead of time, what will happen — I think kids with any kind of issues will intensify,“ grandparent Marlene Vavrek told WPXI.

„Everything ran smoothly and everyone followed their dedicated directions. I’m sure in a real situation it would be much more stressful and chaotic but it is nice to know that we have a plan and know what to do in a situation with an active shooter,“ the Bethel Park student said to INSIDER.

Bethel Park has not responded to INSIDER’s request to comment yet about the drill.

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