Richland 2 conducts active shooter training

COLUMBIA — Richland School District Two hosted a full-scale active shooter exercise at Jackson Creek Elementary on Tuesday, July 17, in partnership with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Richland County Emergency Services and the City of Columbia’s 911 Communications Center, Fire Department and Emergency Preparedness Department.

More than 100 teachers, school and district administrators played the roles of students and teachers. The exercise was an opportunity to test the district’s emergency response plan as and allow law enforcement and emergency services agencies to collaborate. The drill was the next step from the active shooter drills conducted in Richland Two schools at least two times a year. Some administrators relayed vital information to a 911 operator as a “shooter” roamed their halls firing a weapon. Others experienced what it was like to hear gunfire just outside a classroom, practice lockdown steps, how to remain calm under stress and utilize safety precautions under intense circumstances.

District Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis stressed that schools and districts must be proactive and prepared for any crisis. He noted that Richland Two is fortunate to have an emergency services manager with both law enforcement and emergency management experience to coordinate the event. He praised the collaboration between agencies and the district.

“It’s not enough to do a lockout or lockdown drill,” Dr. Davis said. “We needed this exercise to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of our plans and to prepare our staff to respond in the case of actual emergency when their adrenaline is pumping and emotions are high.”

The next day, the same “actors” convened to discuss the drill and work through the district’s family reunification plan.

In addition, the recently approved 10-year facilities plan calls for the rebuilding of several schools to improve building safety.