School adds safety training

FAIRMONT – Fairmont Area School Board has approved changing the school calendar next month, giving students an extra day off in order to train teachers and other staff in emergency response.

Strategos International, a company whose mission is to provide crisis-response training for groups such as schools, churches, law enforcement and military professionals, will provide a course for all school staff on March 8.

The training comes in the wake of discussions sparked by a school shooting in Newton, Conn., that left dozens of people dead.

Fairmont High School staff will undergo four hours of training in the morning, while elementary staff will have staff development meetings. The groups will switch for the afternoon session.

St. John Vianney, St. Paul Lutheran in Fairmont and Southern Plains Education Cooperative staff also will attend the training.

Strategos is offering the course to the district for no cost.

According to the school intruder response course description, staff will learn to prevent, report and protect themselves and students from an active shooter while they wait for police to arrive. They also will learn what to expect once officers are on scene.

Superintendent Joe Brown said staff will be trained how to keep an intruder out of the building, get students out of the building and, if all else fails, take out an intruder.

“It is really about keep out, get out and take out,” he said.

A similar training will be offered to parents and community members on March 7 to address topics including how to help prevent incidents, how to report potential threats, bullying prevention tips and an overview of school-lockdown plans.