Middletown Schools to conduct active shooter drill in wake of Texas massacre

With the start of classes a few weeks away, Middletown Schools and police will soon conduct an active shooter drill on one of its campuses using simulated gunfire.

May’s school shooting massacre at a Texas elementary, which saw an armed intruder kill 17 students and two teachers, is one of the reasons Middletown Schools have decided to conduct the rare, full-scale, security drill on Aug. 1.

Middletown Police and school security personnel will be practicing for a potentially deadly scenario they hope will never play out in real life, said school officials during Monday’s school board business meeting.

“Given the current state of the world right now and what is happening in society and unfortunately the school shooting in Texas … we’ve been researching and vetting a number of security upgrades to our school campuses,” Middletown Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. told board members.

“We have learned a number of things from the (Texas) incident,” said Styles, who emphasized, however, the need to not jeopardize school building security through overly detailed, public discussions of safety and protection measures.

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Styles also told the board the district is in discussions with city police officials to increase the number of school police officers for the city’s 10 public school buildings for the upcoming school year.

The active shooter drill scheduled for Monday from 9 a.m. to noon will be conducted at the shared Middletown High School and Middletown Middle School campus at 601 North Breiel Blvd. No students will be on campus.

“We want to put our (security response) plan into practice,” he said.

“This is a complex, coordinated event involving first responders, community partners, county and state agencies, and our administrative staff,” said Styles. “Simulating safety drills, practicing our communication, and talking about school safety continuously is one part of how we keep our students and staff safe.”

“The purpose of the active shooter safety exercise is to provide a hands-on or physical test to evaluate the school district’s Emergency Operations Plan and the district’s emergency preparedness in handling this type of event,” district officials noted in a released statement about the drill.

“This is designed for us to respond to an active shooter situation to see how well and how strong (district response) and to discover some areas where we can improve our emergency operations plan,” he told the board.

Board member Anita Scheibert told Styles it was “reassuring” to know of the coming security drill and other district-wide measures designed to keep schools safe from armed attacks.

“Thank you for all the hard work,” Scheibert said.

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