Hodgdon Conducts Active Shooter Refresher with Maine State Police

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 4:51 PM EDT
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HODGDON, Maine (WAGM) -

With some schools already back in session, and more about to start, educators are getting prepared, and that includes training to respond to an active shooter situation. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.

“Say you’re the only person that has a cell phone that can get information out, try to send something as quick as you can to say that you work in a certain wing or something, you have a group text setup with that wing”

MSAD 70 Staff packed into the gymnasium of the Hodgdon Middle/High School early Monday morning, 2 days ahead of the first day of school, to get a refresher on Active Shooter Response, otherwise known as ALICE.

“We’ve been doing this training for a little over 5 years and I think the training has been very well received from staff, students and the community, the parents that we’ve spoken to.”

SGT Haines of the Maine State Police says the way schools respond to Active Shooter incidents has shifted dramatically in the wake of countless mass shootings across the country.

“For years active shooter response from schools was a reactive based response, so it was basically shelter in place, lock the door, and hide in the corner until the police arrive. And we know, from our common sense that we wouldn’t do that if there was a fire in the school, waiting for the fire department to come. We’re trying to get that mindset out there for ALICE and this program is really a proactive approach to school safety and to active shooter violence. So trying to get staff and students to take an active stance, whether it be evacuate, barricade the door or use some sort of counter technique.”

The course provides staff with scenarios and things to think about when crafting a response to an active shooter scenario. Their response may vary based on the age range of the children they teach, but the course focuses on distracting, overwhelming or evading the threat.

Tyler Putnam, Superintendent of MSAD 70 says getting the teachers thinking about situational awareness, and what to do in the event of an incident is the first step to a safer school.

“We’ve had a very difficult last two years in education in general, and I know this is a heavy topic, but the introduction to it and letting people start thinking about that, start thinking about awareness and what’s around them at all times. It’s something that not all of us in our everyday life, especially in education, think about when it comes to making sure we stay safe and that we have proper policy and procedures in place and that we’re following them. However, if teachers are intentional about understanding what they can do to keep their students safe, then we’re all better off.”

“We’re very lucky in Maine that we have some of the highest firearm ownership and yet some of the lowest gun violence in Maine, so we’re very fortunate where we live, but we also cant be naive to the fact that we need to be planned and prepared and make sure our schools are practicing these techniques, just as they would a fire drill.” says Haines

And while students prepare to be welcomed back to MSAD 70 as school begins this week, they should take comfort in knowing their teachers and staff have the tools and the knowledge to keep them safe if the need ever arises.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8