Right now, there’s a huge push to address school violence and other safety concerns – Guilford County commissioners and school board members are meeting this week to discuss school system security needs – and, on Friday, Feb. 1, the High Point Police Department will hold an active shooter exercise at Phoenix Academy to help students, teachers, administrators and the general public know how to respond in case of such an event.
The drill is designed to teach attendees the best practices when confronted with a shooter as well as to provide a showcase of new school-safety technology meant to help keep kids safe. In order to replicate the conditions of a real shooter scenario, the campus will be placed on lockdown by the police department: No one will be allowed to leave or enter the premises once the event starts at 1:45 p.m. at Phoenix Academy Elementary School at 4191 Mendenhall Oaks Parkway in High Point.
Phoenix Academy is a charter school that made news last year by being the first school in the state to implement a high-tech $400,000 system that detects gunshots being fired and then automatically notifies 911. That system is designed to distinguish between a gunshot and, say, the sound of a locker door slamming loudly.
Bill Greener, a spokesperson with Greener & Hook, the communications firm taking questions on the Feb. 1 event, said the afternoon simulation and related activities are meant to address the security problem from many different angles. He said it’s also being held to offer information on the latest tools for addressing an active shooter situation.
“The purpose of the demonstration is to show people how to respond and also how to help prevent it from happening,” Greener said.
He said it will cover everything from proper threat response and personal safety tips to new devices that thwart shooters. Those who come will, for instance, learn about special glass that keep initial shots from going through a window and a system of strobe lights that may be activated as a defensive measure to create confusion for a shooter.