Preparing for the unthinkable

Schuyler County officials take part in a drill to prepare them for an emergency at a school.

Emergency responders, injured children and dangerous weapons mean serious business, and Thursday morning at Schuyler Schools you could find all those things. Fortunately, none of it was real.

"Today we conducted an active shooter drill,â?? said Acting Schuyler Sheriff Luis Perez. â??This is to get the teachers ready in case we have a scenario where we have a person going to the school and start shooting up the school."

Officials from neighboring fire stations and police departments took part in Thursday morning's drill. The goal is to prepare teachers and administrators for a worst case situation.

"It's alarming in a way, but it's definitely necessary for us to know what to do. It does make your heart beat a little bit,â?? said fifth grade teacher Marge Kaden.

"I think that it's very scary and improves our skills and gives us more of a realistic idea of what could happen,â?? agreed sixth grade teacher Jessica McBee.

In the exercise, fake gunshots were heard and teachers were given instructions to lock their classroom and stay quiet. Officers were sent in to apprehend the shooter and secure the school.

"It gives us a little bit of training. It gives us scenarios and then we can sit there and review back and talk about what things we can change to make something like this a little bit better,â?? Perez said. â??With the teachers, it gets them to know what they have to do and if there's a mistake they did at that time. We obviously did learn a lot from todayâ??s drill, things that we should not do and not try to do."

Teachers and officials know this is not a fun exercise, but it is necessary.

"Just as an observer, it was very intense. I can't imagine as a teacher realizing the responsibility that we have for these children and how intense and emotional it can be,â?? said Superintendent Robert Amen.

You can be certain that these teachers know when the safety of your child is at stake, you can never practice enough.

The school has organized drills like this in the past, but this is the first time the Sheriff's Department has been involved. Similar scenarios have been done in Adair and Putnam Counties.