Santa Maria school staff is working this summer, focusing on something other than lesson plans.
They’re going through training on what to do if a shooter shows up on campus.
Groups of educators from across the state came to Santa Maria Wednesday for specialized training.
They learned how to lock down a room, prevent a killer from coming in, and if necessary how to fight back.
This time it’s small, soft air-foam balls, but if they’re ever confronted by a real killer or bullets, instructors say they’ll have a better chance of saving students.
Participants learned how to move from a victim mentality to a survivor mentality. School staff is now learning how to fight back against a killer on campus.
Specific changes include tying off door handles and hinges, blocking entrances with desks, filing cabinets and chairs.
When that’s not enough, they also learned when and how to counter-attack.
A lock down drill now looks a lot different in Central Coast schools.
“It’s a huge difference from what we used to do in drills," said Brent Vanderweide, an administrator with Lucia Mar School District. "Cowering in a corner and waiting for something to happen.”
“We have a history of doing lock-downs where our students are doing just a duck and cover and that basically makes them sitting ducks to any intruder and situation," said Jillian Cota, an administrator with Taylor Elementary. "Doing this training allows them to be proactive, prepared and empowered and have the confidence to respond in a situation that we don’t want them to be in but it could happen.”
Staff said this training has empowered everyone who participated.
“I feel a lot more confident about the safety of our schools," said Rachel Azziz, an administrator with Fesler Junior High School.
“It’s about action, being prepared and being survivors," Vanderweide said.
Come fall, each of the participants will go back and train all Santa Maria teachers and students.