Parents educated on what to do in school shooting situation

MASSAC COUNTY, IL – Do not go to the school in the case of a school shooting. That’s the message from members of law enforcement and first responders after last week’s shooting at Marshall County High School.

Leaders in Massac County, Illinois, want to make sure parents know what to do if something were to ever happen. Some parents are on edge, and leaders provided them with information at a town hall Wednesday.

Jason Robertson picks his son up almost every day from school. While he’s, of course, concerned for his son’s safety in school, he’s pretty pleased for the most part with his safety.

“The school environment is conducive to every single student here,” he says. “They’re thinking of every single student.”

But members of law enforcement want to remind parents: It could be you putting others at risk in an emergency situation.

“We’re not there to treat injured. We’re not there to get your kids out safely. We’re ordered to hunt,” Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse says. “I know it sounds mean. I know it sounds cruel, but that’s the bottom line.”

The first thing you need to know is: Do not go to the school. First responders will be looking for the suspect in the school, and they need the space to dothat.

“We need an area for triage. We need a place for police to respond sooner, parameters the other first responders with medics, and firefighters have to be here,” Masse says.

Parents were here to learn how to keep their children safe, but tonight was a reminder that parents can also help keep tragedy from happening in the first place.

“We need you to be our eyes and ears, especially after school hours. We need to be able to talk to you guys, and like Chief Masse said, if you notice a behavioral change in your child or your child’s friends, you need to be comfortable enough to tell someone up here at school,” School Superintendent Jason Hayes says.

It was a pretty mixed bag how parents felt at the town hall event. There were parents who were saying, “They’re not going to keep me from my kid,” calling for more guards and metal detectors on campus, and other parents who wanted to focus on preventing bullying.

Other things parents need to know: both Masse and the sheriff greatly emphasized their concerns about violent video games. They recommended parents to really get down on their kids’ level, watch the game, and decide whether they should be playing those games. Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto were a couple they mentioned.

The meeting involved schools in Metropolis city limits. The next meeting will be for the schools located in the county. That meeting will be next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Massac County High School.

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