(KMOV.com) -- In their training, teachers and staff in O’Fallon School District 90 have faced the sound of gunfire and plain clothed officers showing up unannounced to put new security measures to the test.
Police and school officials have spent a lot of time and effort preparing for something they hope and pray never happens.
At every public school in O’Fallon, Illnois doors are locked, visitors talk remotely to staff who can see them on camera and question them before deciding it’s safe to let them in.
School security has changed much over the years and so has the response to an intruder.
“If there a shooting in the building we’d like to focus on maybe a concept of run, hide or fight,” said Evans Elementary Principal Ryan Keller.
Hiding the students until help arrives was standard procedure but now it’s only one option and sometimes the worst option, according to police.
“When people stay in a room and wait, often times that ends in disaster with more fatalities than we have to see,” said O’Fallon officer Jamie Kilquist, “So we try to learn from these different incidences.”
The O’Fallon Police Department has worked closely with schools on security for more than a decade.
Kilquist recently put teachers and staff at Evans Elementary through a tense, realistic drill on deciding whether to run, hide or fight back.
“When we did these drills, it gets their adrenalin going,” Kilquist said, “It’s as real as we can make it.”
Another way police put schools to the test is to have plain clothed officers sometimes visit unannounced and walk around checking for unlocked doors.
“For them to come and do spot checks to make sure our building is secure, we welcome that because it helps us improve safety in our schools,” Keller said.
It’s a state law in Illinois that all schools conduct an active shooter drill once a year under the watchful eye of the local police department.
It, however, is not required in Missouri, but many local school districts in the area have taken it upon to do annual drills.