BCSO helps school districts, entire community train for active shooters

BCSO announced local training, combines school districts and law enforcement

By Courtney Friedman - VJ, Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Every devastating school shooting pushes each district to intensify preparation methods.

However, the Bexar County Sheriff's Javier Salazar said Monday, without communication between schools, law enforcement and first responders action plans could still fail.

That's why entire communities are now training together, learning one standard protocol from a national program.

Shooting after shooting cause Sue Arredondo to fill with uncontrollable emotions.

"Scared. Angry. Worried about our students here on campus," she said.

She's the academic dean at Judson ISD's Karen Wagner High School.

The campus will soon host an enormous active shooter training session, combining multidistrict school staff and law enforcement.

"It's tools in our bags and we're able to congregate not only with our local agencies but our municipal and county because we have to have one standard protocol," said Judson ISD police Chief Teresa Ramon. 

Wagner, like so many schools across America, has made many adjustments in the wake of mass shootings.

One example: When the students get out of class they're no longer allowed to transition to the next class outside. They have to walk through the indoor hallways. At the end of every single one is an administrator or a police officer.

The changes are important, but these schools have never trained or coordinated with law enforcement across the region, deciding specific ways to communicate, get in and out of buildings and help injured people.

That communication is even more crucial for schools like Wagner.

"Wagner is unique in that we sit in different cities so when things happen it's kind of a communication thing to get Kirby Fire Department here or the Bexar County Sheriff," Arredondo said.

One hundred people from all over Texas Education Service Center Region 20 will attend the first training session on May 2 and 3. They'll take what they learn and hold subsequent training sessions in their communities.

"Administrators, then teachers, then yes, at some point, it's essential to have students trained as well so they would know how to react as well," Arredondo said.

The same standard protocol is being taught all over the nation. It was created by nonprofit "I Love You Guys." The organization was named after the last text message a student sent her parents before being killed in a school shooting. 

This training typically costs thousands of dollars. The upcoming sessions are only possible because local companies and organizations have offered complete funding. 

Anyone in Region 20 who is interested in attending the training, should contact the Bexar County Sheriff's Office at 210-335-6000.

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