The Barry County Sheriff's Office
teamed up with the Wheaton Police Department to stage an active shooter
training exercise at the
The purpose of the exercise was to
prepare multiple agencies for a scenario like the
"You start thinking about, 'If I've got a room full of 20 kids, what would I do to ensure their safety?'" says high school teacher Jason Navarro. "It was good knowing we'd have that kind of support if we ever needed something like this. It's very important to think about student safety and trying to come up with those areas so we always know our children are safe."
With weapons drawn, deputies and officers walked from classroom to classroom trying to find the two staged shooters involved in the emergency drill.
"Even though we all knew it was fake, it kind of gets you to thinking if this really could happen," says sixth grade teacher Coleman Lee. "It really brought into perspective how prepared we need to be in case something does happen. There were things we didn't think about that could end up happening in an actual event that we went over today."
Teachers were escorted out of classrooms and onto buses. There were even people lying in hallways acting as hurt victims.
"We wanted to train this as a real actual happening," says Sheriff Mick Epperly. "It still raises the level up a lot higher."
Wheaton Superintendent Lance Massey
says some things have changed since the tragedy in
"We're more diligent on some of our lockdown procedures, what doors we keep locked, questions we ask visitors coming in."
But there's no better way to prepare for a disaster than to actually pretend it's happening.
"We're gonna learn from it," says Sheriff Epperly. "We made some mistakes, but we'll build off the mistakes and we did good things too, so I praise what they did there."
"We saw some things today we can capitalize on and make some differences in," adds Massey.
Sheriff Epperly says the department
plans to do more of these drills at other schools within
Massey says in his eight years as superintendent, the district hasn't had any major threats at the school and he hopes it stays that way.
The agencies involved in the drill included the Barry County Sheriff's Department, Wheaton Police, Cassville Police, Purdy Police, Exeter Police, Missouri State Patrol, Wheaton first responders, Wheaton Fire, Exeter Fire, Barry County 911 and Cox Ambulance. The Missouri Highway Patrol and police from surrounding towns also helped out.