Thursday, January 24th, 2013
By William Kincaid
Practice barricade
Fort Recovery students conduct intruder drill
  FORT RECOVERY - Teacher Diane McClung turns off the lights as a few students lug a table toward the door, flip it over and prop it up. Other students add chairs and desks to help fortify the barricade.
"Work together," McClung says. "Barricade this door more. Let's get this higher."
Her eighth-graders oblige. Nearly every piece of furniture in the classroom is heaped against the door.
"Stack it up. More hands," she says.
The students arm themselves with books, the classroom flag, staplers and other objects and retreat to one side of the darkened classroom.
"Get an object, something sharp," McClung says.
After waiting in silence for a few minutes, middle school principal Matt Triplett opens the door and slowly pushes through the barricade. He evaluates the students' work, praises them for their effort and points out the barricade maybe could have been a bit higher.
"We tried ... it's hard," one student says.
All students and teachers at the elementary/middle school on Wednesday afternoon practiced barricading their doors as part of ongoing training in the event of a violent intrusion.
McClung also instructed her students to throw objects at the face of an intruder, make a lot of noise and run away.
"You feel much more powerful," she said about the new districtwide survival philosophy that teaches fighting back. "You don't feel like a sitting duck."
"That's really the whole purpose behind the program," Triplett said. "It's a response option. The kids have the option to learn that you can defend yourself."
In previous years, the office staff was instructed to send a message over the PA system - "Mr. Locker come to the office" - that would notify staff that a violent intruder was in the building. Teachers would lock their doors and hide the kids in a corner.
"Now we say there's an active shooter," Triplett said. "We give a detailed description as much as possible so we provide the teachers with as much information ... and then that helps them make their better decisions."
The information would allow teachers to decide if they should evacuate the building or hunker down and barricade the room, depending on where the shooter is, he said.
"We put a lot of emphasis on our communication lines from the office," he said.
Talan Bates, the technology coordinator at Parkway schools in Rockford, came to watch the drill. His district is in the process of updating its emergency responses and security.
Bates agreed it makes more sense for people to actively respond to an invasion.
Triplett was pleased with how the students and teachers responded to the drill.
"I thought they handled the situation very well," he said. "I know I saw some kids coming up with some interesting ways of barricading the doors. They really used ... science and the thought process."
Triplett said school officials will continue to evaluate the school and responses, such as working on mass evacuations during lunches and basketball games.
Additional online stories for this date
Print edition only stories for this date
• Councilman to retire, ex-mayor seeks office
• Funds left for septic replacement, other practices
• Rockford woman pleads guilty to embezzling
• Yarrow believes folk music has healing powers
• Redskins visit Blue Jays for matchup of MAC heavyweights
• Health a concern for Celina on Friday
• Cavaliers advance in state team tournament
• Lady Panthers of '78-'79 had a tremendous run
a_d
Saturday Night
49°
Rain Showers Likely
67%
Sunday
55°
Rain Showers Likely
85%
Sunday Night
45°
Rain Showers
93%
Monday
50°
Rain Showers Likely
63%
Monday Night
27°
Mostly Cloudy
19%
Tuesday
33°
Mostly Cloudy
12%
Tuesday Night
23°
Partly Cloudy
10%
Wednesday
36°
Mostly Cloudy
18%
Wednesday Night
27°
Chance Snow
33%
Thanksgiving Day
33°
Chance Snow
33%
Thursday Night
19°
Mostly Cloudy
13%
3 Day
Extended
a_da_d