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Beattie Middle School trains for active shooter response

By Hector Hernandez, Jr. 

Highland Community News

February 7, 2019

Building on Redland Unified School District’s renewed initiative to increase campus safety and security Beattie Middle School’s safety committee hosted an active shooter seminar for the school’s teachers and staff on Jan. 24 to prepare for a scenario they hope will never occur.

The seminar gave the school staff training from experts within the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department — led by Detective Trevor Malensek and Deputy Chief Rod Torres. Malensek is an expert in the topic stationed in Highland while Torres, a Highland resident, once served as Highland’s chief of police — on how to best react to, protect students and communicate with emergency response during a shooting or other tragedy.

The meeting is a response to the Board of Education and Superintendent Mauricio Arellano’s call for more active campus safety practices throughout the district and the formation of safety committees at each school site. Administrators, teachers, parents and local law enforcement officers began forming the committees in 2017.

“We need to spend a little more time and a little more money on these issues,” Arellano said. “The most important part is that we’re having these discussions to get us thinking about our own unique hypotheticals and processes that will be unique to your campus.”

“It’s very important that parents know we’re doing something to be prepared and are not just hoping it doesn’t happen,” he added.

Malensek stressed the importance of the teachers and staff’s preparations as they will be the immediate responders should something occur. They will be the first to make 911 calls, the first to barricade doors and the first to attend to the wounded.

Using a 911 call from the Columbine shooting of 1999, Malensek instructed the audience on providing the information most immediately needed by law enforcement officers responding to eliminate the threat. The most critical information needed will be a description and the location of the shooter and the number of victims. This information will help law enforcement to eliminate the threat and inform medical responders on how large a response and how much equipment they need.

He also taught the RACE to Safety response advising those in an active shooter situation to prioritize running to safety first, to hide when there is no escape and to fight when face-to-face with the threat.

Malensek also warned that in such a situation their roles would shift from educators to first responders. Using photographs from past tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombing he gave important first aid tips and recommended further training as when injuries occur the first moments are critical and medical response could be delayed or overwhelmed.