OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - In groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind training, Opelika Middle School teachers and staff are learning how to keep themselves and their students alive in an active shooter situation.
News Leader 9's Elizabeth White sat in on the intense, four-hour course.
The training was organized by Opelika police, the Lee County EMA and Superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors, who is a former police officer.
Opelika Middle School and high school teachers along with staff members trained using the latest strategies set forth by the Department of Homeland Security.
We are not allowed to reveal the skills they learned, because they don't want potential shooters to know what they face. We can say, however, that teachers are now armed with various ways to keep shooters from getting into their classrooms.
Teachers also practiced what to do if they came face to face with a shooter. The training was aggressive and demands teachers and students fight back to stay alive.
"We are not hiding the fact that this could happen in our community," said Captain Shane Healey with the Opelika Police Department. "We are hitting it head on and empowering our teachers and our students with what they can do to help protect themselves."
"I feel better prepared after today what I can use in the classroom to help protect us and just to have a game plan, to be vocal with the students as to what do to, cause it's not an A, B, C or D thing, you just have to do what is best in a life or death situation," said Amber McAfee, a teacher at Opelika Middle School.
The training also focused on identifying students who may be having a hard time or could possibly be a threat, and how to make sure that student gets the help they need.
Dr. Neighbors says when school starts, teachers and students will spend time creating and rehearsing their classrooms safety plan.
Captain Healey says the Opelika Police Department is more than happy to visit your school, daycare or business and help your team come up with a safety plan on how to deal with an active shooter.