SAN ANTONIO - Somerset High School teachers are not due in the classroom for a couple of weeks but on Wednesday morning, they found themselves in a position to learn skills that could help them save lives.
A SWAT team, police officers with the Somerset Independent School District and other first responders joined together to put on a jarring exercise that taught teachers how to respond if there is an active shooter situation on campus.
"It's important that we inform our staff how to react in these situations because we just never know," said Somerset ISD Superintendent Saul Hinojosa. "We know it's important to keep our students safe so we're going to do everything possible."
For this particular exercise, members of the SWAT team posed as intruders, storming through the hallways and firing loud blank shotgun rounds.
Police officers, in formation, ran through maneuvers to track down those pretend intruders and stop the threat.
Teachers, meanwhile, were on lockdown in their classrooms.
They were executing tactics that they learned in an earlier classroom session put on by Officer Johnny Salazar and others with the school police department.
"They're the ones that ultimately are going to be there," Salazar said. "Whatever they do is going to determine whether the kids live or die."
Salazar repeatedly drove home the message that it is not a matter of whether something will happen, but when. He said teachers need to be prepared.
"These situations are real and they're everywhere. They're at our stores. They're in our churches," Salazar said.
Begona De Ubieta, a longtime teacher, said she appreciates the training and feels as ready as she can be to protect her students.
"I will jump in front of my kids. I told them that," Ubieta said.
Still, Ubieta said she prays that day will never come and that the school will never face that type of trouble.
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