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'Our No. 1 priority' | How QC schools are keeping staff, students safe with active shooter training

For the first time, North Scott High School brought Quad Cities educators together for active shooter training led by police and first responders.

ELDRIDGE, Iowa — North Scott Community School District hosted its first Quad City School Safety Symposium Wednesday, Aug. 10 at North Scott High School.

Training included several presentations, discussion panels and a police simulator. Educators learned how they should act in active shooter situations, both in confronting the threat and how to work with police and first responders.

This cross-department training is a more common approach now for school districts.

RELATED: Simulator used to train first responders for active shooter situations visits Western Illinois University

"We were fortunate enough this summer to work with our Bettendorf Police Department, Fire and Medic," Bettendorf High School Associate Principal Kevin Skillett said, "and I think it was a real benefit to understand each other's jobs and responsibilities in the event of an emergency situation."

All the attendees participated in Iowa State Patrol's Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events training, which was a presentation involving videos from real shooter situations and news interviews with survivors.

"We don't wanna have to live in a world where we have to be scared all the time," Iowa State Patrol Trooper Luke Hank said. "But ... be more aware, be aware of your surroundings, be aware of people. Be aware of what to do if something would happen. And as far as law enforcement and the school administrators, that's training for us."

Another portion of training involved the MILO Police Training Simulator. Teachers and administrators roleplayed as police in mock situations, using fake handguns in an interactive video simulation, and having to decide who and when to shoot.

The simulation was not to prepare the school staff to be armed, but to show them how law enforcement responds to active shooter situations, and how challenging split-second decision-making can be.

North Scott High School Associate Principal Aaron Schwartz said realistic training like this is the most effective way to prepare school staff.

"If you don't practice it in that situation, you don't really know how you're gonna respond or what you're gonna get," Schwartz said. "Especially in very emotional situations like this, you have that freeze, flight-or-fight response. And a lot of people don't know which one they're gonna be until it happens."

This was the first year North Scott has done the training course.

The first day of class at North Scott comes on Aug. 23.

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