MILFORD, Mass. – The Milford Public Schools will train its faculty and staff to “fight for their lives” in violent situations as a result of the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The district’s faculty and staff will participate in “violent intruder response training” on March 15, an early release day for students, according to Superintendent of Schools Robert Tremblay.
“This is going to be unique and powerful training to make sure that our staff can think on its feet in the event of a violent situation,” Tremblay said at a recent School Committee meeting. “It took an ambitious school district in the state of Massachusetts to do this, and we’re it.
“I want to make sure that our schools are the safest in the country, and they will be."
The district is working with the Milford Police Department and regional SWAT team on the training program, which has caught the attention of the district attorney’s office, Tremblay said.
“They want to come out and observe us, and possibly make this a model for training for educators,” he said.
The training will be full of “shock value” for teachers, custodians and cafeteria workers, Tremblay said.
“If you’re a teacher, unless you have a firearms license, you might not know what a gunshot sounds like or know what it sounds like in a school,” he said. “So we’ll actually be firing a couple rounds of blanks in the school, with the teachers present, so they can know what a gunshot sounds like.
“Then the teachers will be trained so if they’re in their classroom, they’ll know what that sound is in a moment, and they’ll know what to do if they hear that sound."
The police and SWAT teams will re-create a Columbine-like scenario, according to Tremblay.
“We’ll have ‘bad guys’ banging on the doors and giving the first-hand experience of what a violent situation feels like,” he said. “It’s going to be pretty edgy and powerful.”
The district’s practice has always been to “lockdown” if an intruder is present. But that strategy has changed to running, then hiding and finally fighting as a last resort, according to Tremblay.
“If you’re trapped in a room and the bad guy is shooting through, you need to figure out what to break off a table to use as a weapon,” he said. “We’re going to teach them how to fight for their lives.
“No one’s doing this training, but I think we should go there,” Tremblay added. “I think we should make our teachers feel empowered that if this happens in our building, they’ll know what to do.”