Medina Central School District has partnering up with the Medina Police Department, the Medina Fire Department and Orleans/Niagara BOCES' Security and Law Enforcement classes for an opportunity to train in a real-life and real-time situation, announced Medina Superintendent, Mark Kruzynski. "We had started to discuss this with the Medina Police Department and the Medina Fire Department back in December. We wanted to prepare for, God forbid, anything terrible that would happen like we have been seeing happening nationwide. After the tragedy in Florida, we are really glad that we started preparing for this because it is always good to test everything because our number one priority is keeping all our students safe."
Lieutenant Todd Draper, of the Medina Police Department, says the exercise was invaluable for First Responders. "We can preplan and train by ourselves all we want, but without actually being there, and having all the moving parts together, simulating the type of realism needed is nearly impossible. Not to mention how important it is to get all the involved stakeholders to participate and work together towards a common goal." He says he is grateful to the Mr. Kruzynski and the Medina Board of Education for allowing them to use the high school. "Conducting the drill in a building such as a school, an area that could potentially be a target, is very helpful. Our officers routinely make rounds and walkthroughs in our schools and local businesses. When we do that, they are not only learning the layout, but looking for danger areas, vulnerable targets, and places that may cause first responders to have difficulties in the event of an actual emergency. Our School Resource Officer being in the schools every day is also an invaluable asset, providing us a distinct advantage in our schools."
Lieutenant Draper reached out to Orleans/Niagara BOCES' Security and Law Enforcement classes at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center to see if they wanted to take part. Teachers, Steve Browning and Dudley Gilbert jumped at the chance after administration and parent approval. Some of their students assisted the first responders by role playing. The teachers acted as observers and took video to assist the first responders in reviewing the scenario after the drill.
The Security and Law Enforcement teachers say it's a sobering reality of life in current day America. "It was a fantastic opportunity for them to see the type of response the first responders will have at an event like that and help to make a difference in the community as a high school student," says Mr. Browning. "I think the most important thing is that it really made them understand that as a law enforcement officer that this is a call they may have to respond to. If they feel as though this isn't for them, that is a good thing that they learn that while in high school and not after attending a four year college." Mr. Gilbert said, "Of course we hope to never have to use what we have been trained to do. However I would hope that this training would stay with the students even after they leave here and enter into higher learning or the workplace to correctly respond to such emergencies. Also I believe that the students that do go on to fields that would incorporate this type of training, will be useful because unfortunately this seems to be a horrific trend that will continue and increase."
After the training, debriefings for the first responders and the school administration were held. "We are also planning on having a review and block instruction for the Security and Law Enforcement students who acted as role players," says Lieutenant Draper. "The students and teachers were a huge help and without their involvement, it would have been difficult to conduct a drill of this magnitude. We also want to thank all the people who put forth an extensive effort to collaborate to make this drill happen. Because of them, we will be that much more prepared in the event a large-scale incident does occur."
"Our main goal is we want students to feel safe and secure at all times in our district," says Mr. Kruzynski. "We want parents to feel confident that when they send their children to school that they are going to be safe. We are always preparing to make our district even safer than it is and we want to keep training and keep preparing. It shows our commitment to keeping everyone safe and secure."