Booth students partner with cops to prepare for the worst

It was a mock exercise meant to educate school staff, students and parents and to enhance the skills of law enforcement in responding to an actual school shooting scenario. When the exercise was completed, the post-active shooter exercise held Friday morning at Booth Middle School in Peachtree City accomplished its goals.

Peachtree City Police Dept. spokesman Mark Brown said the exercise involved the response parameters that occur at the conclusion of an active shooter incident in a school. Among its many components, the exercise involved keeping the school locked down, removing students from classrooms, having them transported to a safe location, re-uniting them with their parents and conducting a secondary search of the building.

In all, approximately 80 7th grade students participated in the exercise, with Booth PTO representatives playing the role of parents arriving at the school to pick up their children, Brown explained. Part of the exercise also included school staff who implemented school system response procedures, Brown added.

The active-post shooter exercise was condensed to approximately three hours, though a real incident would have taken many more hours to resolve.

“The classroom is the safest place for students until it’s time for us to remove them,” Brown said. “It takes time to ensure the safest route out of the area. And it’s important for parents to know that.”

Brown acknowledged what he called the “tremendous cooperation” by Booth Middle School and the Fayette County School System.

“Our goal was to educate the school, parents and kids and to enhance our proficiency in responding to this type of incident,” Brown said. “Overall, this was one of the best specialized training opportunities we’ve had.”

Brown also thanked the various agencies for their participation in the exercise. Those included Booth Middle School staff and the Fayette County School System, Peachtree City Police Dept., Peachtree City/Fayetteville SWAT team, Peachtree City Fire Dept., Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and the Ga. Bureau of Investigation.