How Lansing Area Schools and Police Prepare for Threats from Active Shooters

Should there be a threat inside Ovid-Elsie’s schools, Superintendent Ryan Cunningham is confident students and teachers would know what to do to stay safe.

They do exercises several times a year – both in the middle of the class and during lunch or break time – and have installed the SmartBoot system, started by a Fowlerville, district-wide company.

If someone deploys the “boot” – a small plate of steel that can barricade a door and make it nearly impossible to open – in a classroom, it sets off an alarm throughout the school with flashing red lights and a verbal “lockdown” alert, Cunningham mentioned.

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Teachers can use a tablet to ask for help or call 911 and Cunningham can see where the call for help is coming from, he said. If the “boot” is deployed, all administrators in the district will know.

“It’s a pretty smooth system,” Cunningham said.

Ovid-Elsie purchased this system, along with strong explosion shields for the doors and windows, with the help of a state grant, Cunningham said. Their cameras, which have been improved so that they do not have blind spots, are linked to dispatch so that law enforcement can access the stream if necessary.

Flags outside Ovid-Elsie High fly at half mast on Thursday, December 2, 2021, to honor the victims of the Oxford High School community.

Ovid-Elsie Schools work with local police departments, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, and the County Dispatch to make sure everyone is aware of the plan in the event of an attack on a school, like this was the case in Oxford on Tuesday afternoon.

Four teenagers – Hana St. Juliana, 14, Tate Myre, 16, Madisyn Baldwin, 17 and Justin Shilling, 17 – were in high school in Oxford. A 15 year old student was in charge of terrorism, four counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder and 12 counts of criminal weapons.

Training in schools

The way Ovid-Elsie trained to handle school shootings is similar to many other districts, though most don’t have the same technology.

Schools are required to conduct at least three school safety and security drills per year, wrote State Superintendent Michael Rice in an email to Districts.

In Charlotte, teachers and staff review emergency action plans annually, Superintendent Mandy Stewart said. Teachers have apps on their phones where they can put the school on lockdown if needed. The app allows teachers to communicate with district and local law enforcement so they know when it is safe to exit.

“We think it’s important that a lockout can be called by any staff member, not just the main office,” said Stewart.

She attended a lockdown drill on Monday in high school. As she walked through the halls, checking the doors, it was quiet. The students did the right thing, she said.

“I think the students are prepared, but that’s why we have to do reviews and training,” said Stewart. “I think it’s important for the community to know that we are aware of the issues that are occurring and we are vigilant to make sure that students and staff know how to respond in a crisis… Our safety is a priority. We do everything in our power to ensure the safety of students and staff. ”

Local police departments or sheriff’s offices said they were working closely with schools to make sure they had a plan in place for active violence.

Ingham County Sheriff’s Department captain Andy Daenzer said that while they offered advice to districts on how best to respond to active violence, it was up to administrators to determine the government’s course of action. district.

Meridian Township Sgt. Ed Besonen said every year he sat down with someone from each school district to talk about emergency plans and drills for the upcoming school year. When they organize drills, officers are there to make sure things are done right.

Lansing Police Director of Public Information Robert Merritt said they train annually with other law enforcement agencies in the region on how to deal with active violence in places like schools, businesses, theaters and concerts.

They use empty school buildings and offices during scenario-based training to make it as realistic as possible, Merritt said.

Eaton County first responders have taken courses at Charlotte High School with patient actors, fake bombs and hostage-taking, Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich said.

It’s about preparation, not prevention, he said.

“You never know when things are going to happen,” Reich said.

“We really can’t get out of this tragedy”

Even in Oxford, where first responders handled the situation “perfectly”, it still wasn’t enough to keep every student safe, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said at a press conference on Wednesday .

“The response was perfectly executed, but three, four children were killed and multiple injuries occurred, which suggests that we really cannot get out of this tragedy,” McDonald said.

The students and teachers used what they learned during the trainings and turned their desks to the side and barricaded the door, Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said at a press conference . It saved lives. Police found shots were fired through doors and barricades.

“The best preventative path we’ve seen that has worked is to make sure everyone is talking about something they’ve seen, heard or seen so that it can be reviewed, training and protocols in place. “Bouchard said on Wednesday.

Corn we must do more than just training in schools, discovered Michigan State University psychology professors John Carlson and Sydney Nelson, and Towson University professor HaeDong Kim.

Their studies suggest that school safety is maximized when the school’s physical environment, mental health procedures and treatments are “toughened up,” they wrote. Hardening the physical school environment involves things like increased technology, metal detectors, locked doors, and security cameras.

Cathy Brunton’s granddaughter attends Holt High School. She said she was concerned for the safety of the girl.

Last month, her granddaughter saw on social media that there would be some sort of gang fight that day, Brunton said. Scared, she didn’t go to school.

Brunton said she wanted to see metal detectors installed in schools to keep students safe.

Contact reporter Kara Berg at 517-377-1113 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @ karaberg95.

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