Winona, Minn. (WXOW) – In 2019, there have been 22 shootings at U.S. elementary, middle, and high schools. American families across the nation will never forget the deadliest mass school shootings in U.S. history.
On December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 20 children, and six staff members were killed. On February 14, 2018, in Parkland, Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 17 were killed.
Winona County Sheriff Ron Ganrude said over a decade ago officers were trained to wait for back up during active shootings.
“We will not wait outside; we will not waiting at the door,” said Ganrude. “As soon as the call comes out, its all hands on deck, everybody is responding.”
Ganrude said the Winona County Sheriff’s Department sets up active shooter drills at the courthouse, the county office building, the government center, as well as training teachers.
Mark Anderson, the Principal at Winona Senior High School, said he agrees with Ganrude. Anderson said that over a decade ago, schools did not lock doors, and people could easily walk and leave off school grounds.
“We now lock our doors now. The only way in our building is through the front doors and individuals must have an I.D to get in,” Anderson said. “The I.D has to be scanned, to make sure there aren’t any issues with that individual trying to walk on school grounds.”
Anderson tells News 19 that faculty at Winona Senior High School has undergone ALICE Training, its an Active Shooter Response Training; the acronym breaks down to:
A – Alert: This is your first notification of danger. It is recognizing the signs of danger and receiving information about danger from others.
L – Lockdown: If evacuation is not a safe option, you would barricade entry points into your room to create a semi-secure starting point.
I – Inform: If it is safe to do so, communicate real-time information on the location of the violent critical incident. Use clear and direct language using any communication means possible.
C – Counter: As a last resort, create noise, movement, distance, and distraction with the intent of reducing an individual’s ability to cause harm.
E – Evacuate: When safe to do so, run from danger using non-traditional exits if necessary. Rally points should be predetermined.
Anderson said during the active shooter drills, and in the unfortunate event if an intruder were to get on to campus, he will be on the intercom informing students and staff in the location of the intruder, and his or her physical description. Anderson said each year his school goes through an active shooter drill.
“If students don’t feel safe, they’re not going to learn, and if they don’t feel safe, they won’t want to come to school, so, safety is a priority for us,” Anderson said.
Each year in the state of Minnesota, Anderson said all schools are required to go through five fire drills and one tornado drill, and among all of that, five lockdowns with an evacuation plan.