Hoxie teachers hold active shooter training practice

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Emergency responders and multiple law enforcement agencies filled the Hoxie School District's campus on Tuesday.

An active shooter training drill took place with all of the school's teachers.

Radius Baker, Hoxie Superintendent, said it was high time they held a drill like this one.

"This is one of the things I think is very important," Baker said. "With the number of shootings going on in America right now and in the schools. It seems like every week you can open up the paper and listen to the news and see where someone has decided they want to make life miserable for people. Most of the time they kill a lot of people and then kill themselves. So, we felt like this was a scenario we really needed to do. I think we've learned a lot from it."

Deputy Nicholas Dean with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department is the SRO at Sloan Hendrix High School and said it's about being ready for the unexpected.

"Anytime you have a drill, something is going to come up you didn't expect to happen and this drill was no different," Baker said. "There are things that happened. And I think what my teachers learned from it is they didn't know how the police and MS respond to incidents like this. And they didn't know the professionalism that they had, how they treated people. And when I say that I mean how professional they were with people.'

Lexie Mitchell, a second-grade teacher, said she learned a lot.

"The most beneficial thing," Mitchell said. "Was how to use my resources and how to rely on the police and everyone around me who is trying to help. Finding my safe zone on campus. Like I said, I immediately ran to the field house and actually getting to know the building better. Like I said, it's my second year and I'm second grade so I'm elementary. And I feel the elementary building and my surroundings are very comforting. I know my immediate exit strategies, but high school building. I'm never in high school. So, now I want to get secure with the high school building."

A lot of agencies made the drill possible.

"The Arkansas State Police, Hoxie Police, Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, Walnut Ridge Police, Paramedics and Firefighters participated. I believe they all got something from it, as well."

"I take this as a learning experience," Dean said. "Just the chaos that goes on with something. The unknown. Situations we are likely to face any day we wake up. So, just the unknown. I had been trained to go in there and try and take care of the situation and help these people out and there's nothing in the world I'd rather do than help people."

"I'm taking away, the fact that we hear these things and we try and prepare ourselves, but we need to place ourselves in the actual situation. And I'm just learning that I need to ask questions," Mitchell said. "I need to ask the police force and be sure I know of all the ways to help myself. All scenarios, all exit strategies, barricading. Everything I can do to help myself and those around me. That's why I need to ask those questions."

Deputy Dean said he felt the drill was a success.

"I felt the drill went great," Dean said. "Hoxie is setting the bar here as far as active shooter drills in Lawrence County. I felt it went great. I felt all the first responders did exactly what they were supposed to do. We got in there quickly and got the job done."

"I would encourage anyone, in any school district to do something like this," Baker said. "This is the first one to be held in Lawrence County. And I think other schools in the county and in the state should do something like this."

Dean said everyone needs to accept that this is a possibility and should work to prepare for it.

"We look at the news all the time," Dean said. "We see shooter events happening and it's more and more common. And it's time, I feel as law enforcement and the people as well, to wake up. Know that this is an actual risk that we could be facing one day and it's always better to be prepared than not."

Around 150 teachers participated in the drill.

Superintendent Baker said he would like to see them practice this drill once a year.

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