Students react to Clark Co. active shooter drill - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Students react to Clark Co. active shooter drill

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COLBY, Wis. (WAOW) -

Students at Colby High School said they were sent into a panic after a officer came into the building and started firing blank shots. This was part of an active shooter drill that took place Monday afternoon. 

The school has conducted similar drills before, but this time the staff and parents were told just 10 minutes before the drill started. They were notified through alerts on their phones.

The school superintendent said there was a intentional reason behind this approach.

"How we improve what we are doing if kids know it is a drill and know it is coming," said Steven Kolden.

The active shooter drill was supposed to  help determine how students and staff were to react if there was an actual intruder.

"We were looking for authentic reaction," Kolden said. 

The reactions that he was looking for were exactly what was received out of the drill.

"It just felt so real," said Emily Gurtner a senior. "I heard the first shot and I immediately starting running through the door in the cafeteria."

Gurtner was among other students in the cafeteria who did not know the blank shots they heard were part of a drill. They took action immediately.

"I went out through the parking lot to a grassy area and then went through the woods and I actually found someone's backyard to go hide in," Gurtner said. "I tried to call 911 but I couldn't because I was so shakey, and I couldn't dial the numbers."

Kolden said the drill was a wake up call to let the school know what still needs to work on in scenarios like this.

"We had a student who actually let the shooter in the building because he recognized him as a police officer," Kolden said. "So as much as you lock down a school, if you have students letting people in the building, that is an issue and it's something we will work on."

The officer in charge of firing the blanks said staging a real life scenario is the right way to go in order to prevent any real tragedies.

"It's important training to have, rather than the classic lock down of hiding in the class room," said Alex Bowman of the Colby-Abbotsford Police Department. "I don't think that is safe for anyone."

The superintendent said the drill went very smoothly.

The high school building was evacuated within 30 seconds of the blank rounds being fired.

A school safety community discussion will be held on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Colby High School theater. 

The discussion will feature school procedures and allow parents and students to ask questions. 

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