“A lot of times, to be safe means it’s not going to be convenient. You have to change your behavior,” he said.
In mid-January, the Danville Police Department orchestrated a crisis response drill and “active shooter” training for District 118 faculty and staff on a Saturday at South View Middle School. Local law enforcement planned and scheduled to provide the training long before the Sandy Hook tragedy occurred.
“Everyone is on board and they understand the mindset and how the police will react if such a situation should occur here,” Thomason said of the district staff after participating in the two- to three-hour event. “It opened up some eyes.”
Henton was one of 80 district staff members who participated in the drill and training.
In one of the mock scenarios he participated in, Henton was a student in a classroom when a gunman enters the school and runs down the hallway, looking for an open classroom.
Before the drill, Henton said he showed the woman portraying the teacher how to lock the classroom door, which locks from the outside with a key, as do all classroom doors in District 118.
He showed the teacher two or three times that the key needed to be turned to the left to lock it and then the teacher just had to pull the door shut behind her. The teacher practiced what Henton told her and had no problems locking the classroom door ... that is, until the mock scenario unfolded.
“People don’t take into consideration the adrenaline that kicks in,” he said. “Things happen so fast.
“She couldn’t remember which way to turn the key and when she shut the door, she had left the key in the door.”
Thomason said that particular situation illustrates why training and preparedness is so important.