Aug 12, 2014 4:41 PM
As the new school year comes to a start in St. Landry Parish on August 13, 2014, teachers, principals and school staff from the St. Landry Parish School Board gathered in Eunice for a full day of in-service training.
St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Captain Megan Vizena met with school board employees and offered advice to better prepare for an active shooter situation and to raise awareness of behaviors that represent pre-incident indicators and characteristics of active shooters.
Captain Vizena said, "This gathering was a perfect way to reach out to our educators and get them thinking in advance about how they would respond in an emergency. It's not a matter of if it's going to happen but when. We want them to be ready. We want them to be confident with a survival mindset."
Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
"Unfortunately, time is not on our side; we need to bridge that gap. That's why training in collaboration with our school staff is key." said Vizena.
Vizena suggested that the teachers take a look at their school buildings and scope out good places to hide such as a janitor's closet. Also look at how the doors open - do they open out or in and do they lock from the inside or outside. Look at what could be used to barricade the door if needed.
Eunice Elementary School Principal Mary Dupre said, "It's disturbing to think that a tragedy of that magnitude could happen at any of our schools, but we would be irresponsible if we didn't prepare ourselves."
Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz said, "Our S.W.A.T. team is available to perform active shooter scenarios at any school in St. Landry Parish that is willing to obtain this training. Our S.W.A.T. members make every effort to simulate real life stress and circumstances to provide realistic training to better prepare our educators in case of an emergency."