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Springbrook facilitates new active shooter drill

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Springbrook facilitates new active shooter drill

Mr. Weinshel facilitates the active assailant training with his advisory students.

Mr. Weinshel facilitates the active assailant training with his advisory students.

Mr. Weinshel facilitates the active assailant training with his advisory students.

Mr. Weinshel facilitates the active assailant training with his advisory students.

by Michael Solomon, Editor-in-chief

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On Wednesday, December 12, school administration blocked out 45 minutes of an extended advisory period to hold Springbrook’s first active assailant training. All advisory teachers attended a mandatory after-school briefing for the training one week prior.

The training instructed students and faculty on what appropriate actions should be taken in the event that an active shooter is present on school grounds. The presentations explored various scenarios, in detail, that students seeking safety during such an emergency would likely find themselves in.

“The purpose of the drill is to make sure that we are safe – or as safe as possible,” IB MYP Coordinator John Weinshel told students during his advisory period’s training, “we have seen over the years that when  [shootings] do happen at a school, or anywhere, the consequences are obviously devastating.”

Montgomery County Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Andrew Zuckerman announced the county-wide initiative in August, which now joins the list of 6 other annually mandated drills in MCPS: lockdowns, evacuation, reverse evacuation,  shelter-in-place, severe weather and “drop, cover and hold”. Although some schools had already incorporated active shooter drills under the “lockdown” category, the training was not officially recommended or required in any capacity by MCPS until this August.

Montgomery County was only one of dozens of school districts who incorporated the active shooter training, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill into law  requiring schools to maintain emergency preparedness standards on April 18, 2018.

“I definitely think it’s necessary to have the training,” junior Sohan Chacko said, “most kids would have no idea what to do if something like this were to happen.”

The new mandate came during the aftermath of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – a tragedy that mobilized thousands of Montgomery County students to walkout of school and protest in Washington, D.C. on March 14th, and led to the creation of student advocacy group, MoCo For Change. The Parkland shooting was soon followed by one much closer to home, at Great Mills High School in Saint Mary’s County, Maryland.

“Those tragedies fundamentally altered and reshaped the school landscape,”Zuckerman said in an interview with the Bethesda Beat.

The training on the 12th received mixed reactions from Springbrook students. Many struggled with participating in the training’s incorporated discussion periods, and felt uncomfortable with the idea of such incidents occurring at their school.

“It’s really sad that students have to constantly worry about their safety in school,” an unnamed student said, “While the drill was informative, it was pretty challenging for me to sit there and imagine my school getting shot up.”

Over the summer, Springbrook received an addition of 6 new security cameras, as well as a new front entrance to ensure all visitors have to go through the main office before entering the school. The re-design was initially planned to be finished before the start of the 2016-2017 school year, but it was delayed due to funding issues, Dr. Williams told The Blueprint.

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Springbrook facilitates new active shooter drill