GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County school administrators and principals are now better equipped to make sure your children are safe when school begins next month. That's because of an intense safety training session hosted Monday by the state department of Homeland Security and the Law Enforcement Training Academy.
Thinking outside the box was driven home time and again during the training session.
"Everything from the internet, to cyber bullying, to anything that they may face day in and day out," explained Harrison County School District Superintendent Roy Gill.
One day, they may face an active shooter situation. That's why this training is critical. Cathy Garner is Director of Security for the district.
"You've got to keep them safe. That's the number one priority of the Harrison County School District is the safety and security of the students, of the staff. We want everyone to return home at the end of the day," Garner said.
A large fire is another scenario that could happen. Notes are taken, and eyes are glued to the screen. Without this training, that fire could prove deadly, explained Laura Fosselman, with the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy.
"Our training actually gives you awareness to some things that you can be doing in schools, how you do your lockdowns. Actually, how do you protect your kids in the classrooms. Where you actually go if there is an incident on your school," said Fosselman.
While a good portion of the training involved physical activity, physical thought, physical action, some of it involves psychological action as well. That's where Jim Brinson, with the state Department of Homeland Security, comes in.
"We're teaching them to take that fear and turn it into anger. To actually understand that they have to make decisions to save their life, because if they don't, the outcome is drastic," Brinson said.
The trainees took the message to heart. One of them is assistant principal April Graves.
"While you're sitting there listening to it, you're thinking, I can do that, I can do that, but you know the second that something like that happens, you need to take these things he's talking about and apply them," said Graves.
Monday's training session lasted eight hours. About 100 school personnel attended.