State recommends changes to active shooter protocols in each county

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – The NC Center for Safer Schools is recommending each school district change to a new way to handle an active shooter called “run, hide, fight.” This recommendation comes after Governor McCrory formed a task force to enhance security in schools, and how they respond to emergencies.

Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, standard protocol for an active shooter has involved a lock down. However, this new plan gives students and staff more options depending on the situation, and how close the threat is.

“When you talk to teachers and say okay, you’re going to lock down, but you’re not going to be locked down forever, you need to be thinking, I’m safe and secure now, but what might happen next? What’s my plan B,” said Mike Anderson, the director of the NC Center for Safer Schools.

Anderson is one of the people responsible for training each county and charter school in the new protocol.

In the East, Craven, Pitt, Beaufort and Onslow Counties are already using the new protocol in addition to lock down measures. Lenoir and Carteret Counties haven’t added the new plan yet.

“The teachers have been very compliant. They know safety is extremely important,” said Christi Mendes, who is in charge of safety at HJ MacDonald Middle School in New Bern.

All Craven County schools must have at least four drills a year to practice responses to emergency scenarios.

Mendes said the new plan relies on human instinct, and how people would need to respond when faced with danger. When it comes to fighting someone who is armed, she said you have to use whatever you can to get the job done.

“Filing cabinets, desks, equipment that you have in the classroom, you use those things to help,” she said.

Anderson said they did look at shootings like Columbine and Sandy Hook when putting together the plan. As of now, it is just a recommendation, not a requirement for school districts to implement.

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