Active shooter drill for TASD - Titusville Herald: News

Active shooter drill for TASD

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Posted: Tuesday, August 28, 2018 5:00 am

As the tide of mass shootings in America do not seem to be stemming anytime soon, the Titusville Area School District in planning to an active shooter drill to test the district’s safety and response capabilities in case such a tragedy should occur in the area.

Superintendent Karen Jez said that the district is currently in the early planning stages of the drill, which is set to take place at Titusville High School, and will follow a model the University of Pittsburgh in Titusville’s campus undertook in August 2016.

“The basic outline of it is to practice how we would react,” Jez said.

The drill is being planned in conjunction with both local and state police, as well as the county’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS). One police officer will function as the shooter for the drill, though Jez said that there will be no working firearms involved in the entirety of the simulation.

Currently, no students are planned to be involved in the drill, with certain teachers of other faculty acting as students instead.

“At this time, we’re planning teachers and staff (only),” Jez said. “There’s a potential, if we can find student volunteers.”

The drill will touch upon multiple aspects of the district’s response to an active shooters beyond just safety. Reunification of students with parents will be practiced, and the district will give out faux news releases about the situation in order to train media response. These press releases will treat the situation as if it actually occurred, reporting on injuries from the shooting, police response and other such details.

When Pitt-Titusville did their own iteration of the active shooter drill, The Herald published a recount of the simulated shooting as though it happened in reality in the Aug. 19, 2016 edition.

In terms of safety, Jez said that the district has multiple advantages. Each of the school buildings has limited door entry access, as well as internal and external security cameras and a requirement to stop into a building’s office before someone can enter a school building.

The drill is planned to take place in mid-March.

The active shooter drill is one of a number of safety drills every school district in the state is required to do under the recently passed omnibus funding bill. Each district must select one of the safety drills and perform it during the school year.

The funding bill included many other new requirements regarding school safety. The omnibus package also included a mandate to create a safety and security coordinator position. The Titusville Area School Board appointed Director of Student Services Amy Herman to the role at their Aug. 22 meeting.

The safety and security coordinator is in charge of overseeing student safety within the district, and acts as a liaison to the newly created Pennsylvania Safety Committee.

School boards are also now allowed to discuss matters of student safety in executive sessions, rather than in public meetings, thanks to the omnibus bill.

The requirements come at a time when mass shootings continue to plague America. The most recent being a shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, which occurred Sunday,resulting in teh deaths of two people during an attack at a video game tournament.

Ray can be reached, by email, at

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