JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Johnson City Schools (JCS) and multiple agencies conducted an active shooter drill on Thursday at Science Hill High School.
Officials announced in a news release that the drill began at 9 a.m., and school officials assured the community that the heavy police presence at the school’s campus allows school leaders and responders to practice protocol.
The drill was over a year in the making, according to JCS Safety and Mental Health Supervisor Dr. Greg Wallace. The school system created the scenario within their own facilities, but kept the exact circumstances secret from responding agencies to allow them to react on the ground.
“We have a great relationship with our partners,” Wallace said. “And this is just another example of the way that we work together.”
Emergency responders re-enacted the realities of an active shooter situation, such as rushing people to the hospital and bussing students off campus to reunify with family. Wings also flew overhead, but did not land due to weather concerns.
“All in all, we felt like we learned a lot of great lessons,” Wallace said. “It was a very successful drill.”
The reunification site and further details regarding police procedure in an active shooter emergency are not public information, the news release stated. Each agency brought their own personnel to evaluate their performance, and will release those results to the system at a later date.
“In the next week or so, we’re going to get together,” Wallace said. “All the agencies are going to share out what we learned, what went well, things that we hope to improve upon.”
While school officials and first responders aimed to make the training as realistic as possible, they briefed local media and nearby agencies beforehand to avoid confusion among community members as the drill occurred.
“If I had to sum it up in one statement, I would say we’re way ahead of the game,” Wallace said. “To me one of the most critical pieces of any comprehensive safety plan is how well you engage with your strategic partners. “