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September 7, 2017 The Hesston RecordSeptember 7, 2017 The Hesston Record

HMS Students Produce Active Shooter Training Video

Posted 6/22/2017

Record Staff

On Thursday morning, Hesston Middle School eighth grade students learned the moves to fight for their lives during an ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training under the guidance of the Hesston Police Department.

Middle school Principal Greg Heinrichs said the day was an opportunity to create emergency situation training videos to be shown to HMS students.

“Hopefully these kids learned a little but the primary purpose was to video them doing some responses that were a little more intense and a little more lifelike than you can manage with 250 kids during the school year,” said Heinrichs.

Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder said students in the training, and those watching the videos, should learn one critical lesson - take action.

“One of the basic tenants of ALICE is that potential victims do something, even if that something that they do is wrong. The worst thing they can do is nothing,” he said.

Through the day, the dozen students being filmed participated in evacuation drills, barricaded themselves inside a classroom, getting hands-on with an attacker and countering an attacker with classroom objects.

“Everyone can now have an idea what it means to barricade a door or how to get out a window. Those aren’t things you think about every day, but if you have that idea somewhere in your mind, the chances of executing when your life depends on it is better,” said Heinrichs.

Schroeder said the video, as well as the hands-on training for some students can save lives.

“It is important for everyone to recognize what they can do to increase their chances of navigating a critical incident,” he said.

Austin Sontag, a 2013 graduate of Hesston High and a new member of the Hesston Police Department, said he was recruited by Schroeder to play the part of the active shooter.

“It’s changed drastically since I was in middle school. We locked down, shutting off lights and getting in the corner. Things are changing and getting more violent and we need kids to know what to do if that ever happens. A better and quicker response time is what we need,” he said.

During the day, Sontag said he was encouraged by the actions of students as they went through the training and filming.

After learning the basic options of evacuating, barricading, swarming an assailant and countering with objects at hand in a classroom, students put their skills to work in more free-form scenario where they would have to make their own choices.

“What surprised me was what they did when we were running the ‘coming in from recess’ drill.”  Sontag came down the commons near the library yelling and threatening students as they were coming in the doors on the north side of the building. “I didn’t think anyone was going to get hands-on and take me to the ground - which they did,” said Sontag. 

To read more, see this weeks print edition