Hitchcock ISD goes through 'empowering' active shooter simulation in response to recent school shootings

HITCHCOCK, Texas (KTRK) -- An active-shooter experience is empowering educators to fight back if an incident happens on their campus.

On Thursday, Hitchcock ISD invited Texas Department of Public Safety to get its administrators an active shooter demonstration, a decision Superintendent Carla Vickroy made after 10 people were killed in May at Santa Fe High School.

"When it happens in your own backyard, it heightens your worry that if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere," Vickroy said.

DPS offers an active shooter course.

It starts with a classroom setting, but then puts people in real-life situations.

"It felt as real, as real as it could feel," Hitchcock High School principal Laurie Gilcrease said. "Nobody knows what they're going to do if that happens to their campus, or their area."

"It empowered us to know that we don't have to be a sitting duck," Vickroy said. "That there's things we can do to protect our kids in a better way."

Next week, DPS will give the training to Hitchcock ISD teachers. And when school starts, all students will go through the hands-on simulation.

"They need to know what to do," Hitchcock ISD parent Teresa Heller said. "You never know. Just like it happened in Santa Fe, you never know when or if it could happen."

"I think it could be too intense for some, but for some it could be useful," Hitchcock High School grad Alexis Vineyard said. "It really just depends on the student and how they interact with things like that."

This is one way Hitchcock ISD made changes after the Santa Fe shooting. The school district also created its own police force.

Teachers went through threat assessment training, and a mental health counselor will be added. But it could be this hands-on experience that could leave the longest impact.

"Once they walk through the door they're my kids and I'm going to treat them like my kids and so I have a safety plan for my house why would I not have one for my school," Gilcrease said.

Hitchcock ISD wants parents involved with this process.

On September 10, the district is hosting a community day to educate and show parents the training that has been conducted. DPS said if a district is interested in the training, it's free, and all they have to do is ask.

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