JEFFERSONVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Jeffersonville Elementary School is preparing its staff for if a “code red” were to happen. That’s an active shooter situation.
It’s a call parents never want to get. And it’s a situation students and school faculty never want to go through. Unfortunately, it’s becoming a tough reality.
“Statistically, this is more likely to happen than a fire,” Twiggs County Schools School Resource Officer Earl Waller said.
Schools have fire drills and tornado drills already.
“Now you have active shooting drills,” Twiggs County Sheriff Darren Mitchum said.
“It’s an uneasy feeling knowing we have to have these drills, but it’s a reality we live in today,” Twiggs County High School Principal Tapuwa Makaya said.
Twiggs County Sheriff’s Department, other emergency responders and the school district want to be ready if the school shooting epidemic hits close to home.
“We want to be sure that not only the students but the faculty, everybody comes to school safe and secure that they get home as safely as possible,” Makaya said.
“It’s the last thing teachers want to think about when coming to school and as law enforcement, we have to think about what we’re going to do in a worst-case scenario and it’s our job to be prepared and to deal with this type of threat,” Waller said.
By reenacting an active shooter situation, it gives emergency responders and the school a chance to work together, run through protocols and make changes where needed.
“We have a panic button that we push and that lets everyone know we are in lock-down and proceed with our lock-down procedures,” Makaya said.
“Medical, room clearing, it’s all about saving lives so it all comes together at one point,” Sheriff Mitchum said.
It’s not only a matter of training physically for an active shooter, according to Sheriff Mitchum it also requires mental training, too.
“The stuff that today’s law enforcement sees on a daily basis, the average person doesn’t realize and the mental toll it takes on a person over time is a lot because of the things that you see and the things that you deal with. Cause you have to remember I’m wearing a shirt that says sheriff doesn’t mean I’m not a human,” Sheriff Mitchum said.
Deputies and school faculty say there’s never enough training to prepare for an active shooter. But with practicing drills like this, it’s as real as it gets.
Sheriff Mitchum says they will do a couple more drills throughout the year. Twiggs County Schools will practice “code red” drills with their students.