By Jeff Gallatin
City police and school officials don’t want to cause an unexpected uproar when they conduct crisis response training at Bay High School tomorrow morning starting at 7:15 a.m.
Officials said the training will involve lockdown drills, building evacuations and a variety of active shooter engagement scenarios. The training will take place during a staff professional development day in which the majority of students will not be in school. Bay High School staff and a limited number of selected students will directly participate with Bay Village police in the training.
“We want members of the public to be aware that this training is taking place on March 7,” said Lt. Mark Spaetzel, detective bureau commander for the Bay Village police. “We don’t want people witnessing the police activity at the high school to be needlessly alarmed.”
No observers will be permitted except for the staff, student and police participants. No photography of any kind will be permitted during the training exercise due to security reasons.
School Superintendent Clint Keener said the district is happy to work with the police on the training.
“Whether you’re looking at the tragic events in recent years at schools on the news or just knowing that there is a need for police and schools to have ways of responding to that kind of situation, this type of training will be beneficial,” he said.
Keener said it’s good for an initial exercise like this to have just a limited number of students involved.
“The reality of it is that in a situation like this, adults will lead in how it is reacted to,” he said. “Because they are only here a few years each, our students turn over quicker than the staff does. So we’re glad to have the staff here either participating in it or observing it. All the police and staff will be getting together afterward and evaluating it. So if we decide then that there is a need for additional participants, we can certainly follow up on that.”
Keener said district officials are very interested in seeing how the exercise turns out.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what the police come up with and how they deal with it,” he said.
Bay High School Principal Jason Martin has spoken with administrators at Chardon High School, who cited similar training exercises as part of the reason staff and students reacted quickly when faced with an active shooter there last year who killed and injured several students.
“Chardon school officials are convinced injuries would have been greater in number had they not done the training beforehand,” Martin said. “We decided to start with a small number of students to see how it goes. We will consider having the training while school is in session in the future based on what we learn this time around.”
Both school and police officials noted they have been meeting and working together regularly to evaluate school safety plans. Police officers have also attended school staff meetings to discuss safety issues.