CORDOVA — As part of Orangeburg County School District’s training in collaboration with Orangeburg County Emergency Services, an “Active Intruder Drill” was held Monday, June 6, at Edisto High School.

The training exercise involved OCSD’s School Emergency Response Team (SERT), administrators, school nurses, district staff and numerous law enforcement and emergency service agencies, who worked together to simulate and respond to an intruder event. Prior to the scheduled training event, communication was shared with the community to eliminate unnecessary worry or concern related to the drill.

Preparedness is an essential part of OCSD’s emergency plan designed to enable students and staff to maximize safety in the event of a school emergency.

“Safety and security of our students and staff is the upmost importance,” Assistant Superintendent for Operations Bob Grant said. “Our team partners with multiple emergency service agencies to perform drills that are as close to a real situation as possible, so that everyone is properly trained and prepared, should the need arise.”

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Monday’s drill included “trauma-informed” active-shooter training. This training helps prepare staff to respond in the event of an active-shooter situation on a school campus. Several members of the OCSD team acted as gunshot victims, some played the role as students and teachers, while others observed and evaluated.

“The moments during the drill went from very fast to incredibly slow,” Edisto High School Principal Alexis King said. “The moments immediately following the first shots went by very quickly, and I am glad that my team and I practiced and discussed each of our roles and responses so that we could react appropriately.”

While tragic events in schools enhance public interest in school safety and security procedures and training, the exercise was a planned part of the district’s ongoing efforts to ensure safety on school campuses.

“Our goal is to make sure we have adequate visual deterrents, comprehensive trainings and that we are constantly informing our students and staff,” OCSD Superintendent Dr. Shawn Foster said. “Keeping our students and staff safe is a collaborative effort. We in this school district believe that it is everyone’s responsibility. It takes a village. It’s imperative that we have proper protocols and relationships with not only law enforcement, but the community as well, to ensure our students and staff are safe.”

OCSD has deterrents in place to prevent acts of violence on its campuses, as well as an extensive training program with simulated opportunities to practice safety protocols and procedures. The district has metal detectors and a clear bookbag policy (in middle and high schools), school resource officers (SRO), monthly meetings with local law enforcement and emergency services, and continuous “Active Intruder Drill” trainings with both staff and student involvement.

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“I was impressed with the school’s response,” County Emergency Management Director Billy Staley said. “It’s not about pass or fail, though; it’s identify and train.”

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The drill was one of several that has been held this school year as part of the district’s comprehensive emergency training schedule. While many drills include student participation, this week’s was held without students on campus to allow for extensive law enforcement and emergency services training. $5 for the first 20 weeks

“Drills like the one we participated in provide a great opportunity to test the measures we already have in place to see how effective they are, while providing an opportunity to consider any new measures we may need to adopt,” King said. “What we want is to be able to respond to any emergency with the right tools and actions to protect and support our students and staff, and I am very proud of how Team Edisto High responded.”

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