Gov. Abbott instructs ALERRT to provide active shooter training for school districts statewide

2 months 6 days 2 hours ago Wednesday, June 08 2022 Jun 8, 2022 June 08, 2022 7:41 AM June 08, 2022 in News - Local

In the wake of the Uvalde shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers, Gov. Abbott on Monday called for Texas State University's Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training to be provided to school districts statewide. 

The ALERRT program is designed to equip first responders with effective strategies to respond to active attack events. 

Like many districts Valley-wide, Santa Rosa ISD says safety is their top priority for their students and staff. The district has nearly 900 students and 84 teachers. Superintendent Yolanda Chapa says having the ALERRT training is a good way for the district to understand what they need to improve on with the emergency plan they already have in place.

“I think it’s a good thing," Chapa said. "Anything at all that we can improve on what we already have and most school districts have plans in place.”

Gov. Abbott requested ALERRT to debrief school administrators, law enforcement personnel and other school safety decision-makers to prioritize school-based law enforcement training and it must start before the start of the new school year.

“We teach options-based responses," said ALERRT Executive Director Dr. Pete Blair. "So, our preferred option is to avoid the attacker if you can, and [if] for some reason you can’t avoid the attacker, you want to deny access to your location; close and lock the doors. And as a last resort, you defend yourself.”

Blair says the training also has to be age-appropriate for kids and shouldn’t rely on just one option.

“You need to position yourselves in a way, so that if a person does gain access to the classroom, you have options," Blair said. "Whether that’s, as a teacher, to get your hands on a gun and try to turn it into a wrestling match as opposed to a shooting and having your kids run away,” Blair said. 

Another option includes kids exiting through another door to escape.

Texas State Technical College in Harlingen worked with ALERRT back in December with different agencies, including San Benito CISD and Texas DPS.

The week-long training consisted of classroom instruction for the first two days.

“Going over on what we should expect, what to expect whenever a crisis situation takes place at the location that we’re responding to,” said TSTC Police Sgt. Michael Salinas.

Sgt. Salinas says they would automatically shift to force-on-force scenarios.

“So, what they would do is they would put the officers, troopers, the school district resource officers in groups of four, groups of three, and they would run us through scenarios,” Sgt. Salinas said. 

They would also use different protective gear.

“And these simunition guns that fired simunition rounds, kind of like reinforcing the feeling of actually being in a hot situation or being in a situation that’s taking place, like some sort of active attack,” Salinas said. 

As for Santa Rosa ISD, while the superintendent welcomes the idea of ALERRT, she is hoping to also get financial assistance from the state.

“Because I don’t think that, at this time when the budget's already being approved and being looked at and have been worked on, I don’t think everyone has planned for that," Chapa said. "Not knowing the extent of the cost, I can't really speak to it.”

It's unclear who will pay for the training and where the training will take place.

Channel 5 News reached out to the governor's office for more information, and is still waiting to hear back. 

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