St. Louis schools participate in “active killer incident” training

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – An armed intruder storms a St. Louis school and opens fire. It is an absolutely frightening experience and—thankfully—a make-believe one.

Teachers and other staff are learning how to survive a situation involving an active shooter or, in this case, an active killer.

“Our goal is just to provide (teachers) with the most basic working knowledge,” Tier 1 Tactical Solutions Officer John Sondag said. “If a situation like that occurs, it’s going to be incumbent on them to make sure the students are in the safest place possible.”

Sondag is an officer with the St. Louis County Police Department’s Tactical Operations Unit.

The Central Institute for the Deaf participated in the training in April.

“We think of Sandy Hook, which was just an awful situation, where a lot of children were killed. And a lot of school faculty were killed. And Columbine,” CID Executive Director Robin Feder said.

The training involves what is known as the four Es: educate, escape, evade, and engage.

“When do you know to do one or the other? That’s the kicker of a question. Our goal is to challenge them. And to make that decision for themselves,” Sondag said.

Even though the scenarios were pretend, the nerves were real.

“The anxiety leading up to it. We knew that it was going to happen, but in that moment, it’s very real,” CID Primary School Coordinator Abby Zoia said.

But the nerves were worth it.

“We felt empowered at the end,” Feder said. “We felt it gave us tools that we really hadn’t thought about before. And we felt that we were better prepared than we had been when we first started the training.”