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Friday, June 22, 2018

Fort Thomas Independent Schools Teachers, Students Participate in Active Shooter Safety Training

On the first day of summer vacation at 8:00 in the morning, an overwhelming majority of students would be soundly and squarely in their beds getting a well-deserved rest after completing finals.

But in Fort Thomas Independent Schools, over 100 students attended a volunteer training at Highlands High School and Middle School, hosted by the school district and put on by area law enforcement.

Lt. Chris Carpenter of the Fort Thomas Police ran the event with the Kenton County Regional SWAT team, Fort Thomas Fire and Paramedics and several Fort Thomas Police Officers. Fort Thomas Independent Schools demonstrating what to do in active shooter scenarios.

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Carpenter said that the event at Highlands was the most well attended event his group had encountered. He said that the school had last held a training three years ago and are now progressing their training by adding a Department of Homeland Security program called, Stop the Bleed, a national awareness campaign that encourages bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

“It’s great that we have as many students here as we do,” said Lt. Carpenter, who has been on the Fort Thomas Police Department for 17 years and on the regional SWAT team for 15 years. “We want as many eyes and ears as we can get, looking out for a threat. This is not paranoia, the chances that it will ever happen here are very slim, but if it does happen here, everyone involved will be the attacker’s enemy. Everyone will be protecting each other and that makes everybody safer.”

Law enforcement held breakout sessions to teach the skills they would need later in the day in simulated active shooter training.

Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, Jamee Flaherty, said she was pleased that students chose to attend the training on their first day of summer vacation.

“As we focus on continuous improvements, we want to recognize how we can best position our staff and students to develop the skills necessary to respond to a crisis situation involving an active shooter,” said Flaherty. “When we consider having students involved, it’s taking an additional step further to provide training to ensure that they have the understanding and the skills to react during an emergency. 

In addition we’re enhancing the faculty and staff training by including “Stop the Bleed” training which includes first-aid processes to be used in response to a school shooting.  Keeping everyone informed and aware of best practices is our end goal.”

Fort Thomas Sgt. Will Hunt, Officers Michael Rowland, Doug Bryant and Sean Donelan were in attendance from the police department and Captain, Tammy Webster, was in attendance from the Fort Thomas Fire Department.

Carpenter’s teenage daughters, Arden and Eden, were also in attendance helping law enforcement set up scenarios.

“It’s not just something that we’re asking others to send their children to, we are as well,” said Carpenter.

“If something actually does happen they need to know how to react and what to do quickly,” said Arden, 14. “Being calm, knowing where to exit can help save anyone’s life.”

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