Be Found Alive

By: Garrett Mock

Homer-Center faculty and staff taking part in active shooter training.

On Wednesday, September 13, Freeman High School in Spokane, Washington suffered the loss of one student, and the wounding of three others. On that particular day, the unimaginable happened --- a school shooting. It is every student, teacher, and staff member’s worst fear, for one of their community inside their school to open fire on their peers. The shooter was a student, and shot four others, killing one; that student is being hailed a hero.

In Homer-Center School District, the teachers are now prepared for situations, like the shooting in Spokane. On Friday, August 19, students were enjoying the remainder of their summer. The football team was practicing that week, spending the hot afternoon in the locker-room, but deeper in the school, teachers were undergoing an active shooter training. This training gave the teachers an opportunity to feel a simulation of a shooting, and at first, no teacher had a great idea to deal with this sudden situation.

“We’ve been given training like this before,” stated math teacher Mr. Mark Butler, “but not in this extent; this was totally different.”

The training was conducted by Marion Center principal, Mr. Matthew Jioio. The training consisted of very real simulations of an active shooter, a training that current day policemen are undergoing as well; many policemen have, and still are, going through simulations to help respond faster to situations much like the Spokane incident, learning how to more effectively handle those unfortunate situations. In Homer-Center Jr./Sr. High School, the teachers now feel ready for moments like these.

“It has allowed us, as teachers and protectors of this school, to be more proactive instead of reactive,” said social studies and psychology teacher, Mr. Rob Stossel.

In spite of recent events, especially in the wake of the horrific acts in Las Vegas, the training almost felt necessary. “These trainings also make school feel safer and gave students reassurance,” said one student.

“Less than one percent of all schools experience some form of shooting,” said Homer-Center Principal Mr. Jody Rainey, “our number one obligation, as teachers, is to protect the students. This training has added a layer of safety, and has added another layer of knowledge to the school. I highly recommend this training to teachers and schools everywhere.”

With these trainings underneath their belts, the teachers now have an objective and expectation if such an event occurs. Now they are ready; the training has made Homer-Center, a very safe place for students, an even safer place -- both in knowledge and protection.