Mass shooting prompts safety class for parents, teachers

Posted at 8:49 PM, Jan 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-05 20:57:35-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Parents and staff filed into Southside Baptist Christian School’s auditorium Saturday for a crash course on how to protect themselves if a someone opens fire on the school's campus. 

School leaders were prompted to hold the assembly -- and increase security -- after the December shooting rampage at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Richmond Police Department's Major Steve Drew presented different scenarios of tragic situations to teach the parents and staff about how to stay safe. For example, he stressed the importance of turning off cell phones, keeping quiet and locking doors if a shooting breaks out.

"We never want to Monday morning Quarterback...," Drew said. "We learn from a situation that occurs. Even here in the city, what we can do better."

Police urged parents and staff at the school to report any suspicious activity immediately to school leaders and the police.

CBS 6 News has learned Richmond Public Schools have also reached out to police and will be going through similar training soon.

Southside Baptist Christian School is also taking action to keep students safe after the shooting. 

"The best thing we could do it bring ourselves to a heightened state of awareness of these events and be prepared,” Reverend Arcillious Redding, Director of Southside Baptist Christian School's Middle School Division, said. "The main security that we have is that every door in the facility is locked and no one can enter unless they're allowed in from somebody in the inside.”

Redding also said students and staff are going through more safety drills as a precaution.

Parents told CBS 6 News' Sandra Jones that they found the presentation helpful.

"It was very informative," parent Willie Lee said. "A lot of things we didn't know as parents and a lot of thing we can start talking to our children..knowing that the school is more alert ready for any incident,” 

Teddy Elliott, another parent, said that the school had already made some changes, including how children are picked up and dropped off, after the shooting. 

“And to that, that could’ve been my child is, I can’t fathom that I can even think about that... How can we all work together to make sure that we minimize any casualties,” said Elliott.