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Red Land High School holds active shooter drill

Christopher Dornblaser

Students at Red Land High School had a very different day of school on Friday.

Law enforcement, school staff, students and parents all were at the school, participating in an active shooter drill, which simulated how the school and emergency responders would react during a shooting.

This was the third active shooter drill in the county in recent years, with the first held at Central York High School in 2013 and the second at Spring Grove Area Middle School in 2014.

Response:  At about 8:45 a.m., two “gunmen” entered the school with fake guns and made their way through different parts of the school. Within minutes, officers arrived, went into the school and had both of the “gunmen” in custody.

Sixty officers from York County and neighboring counties came out for the day, which Fairview Township Police Chief Jason Loper noted would be similar if a school shooting event were to occur, adding they could easily have double the amount of officers there in that situation.

In addition to police presence, local fire and EMS services were there as well. Some students at the school were "injured" and responders had to care for them. Many of the "injured" students were taken out on stretchers.

Loper said the day went well and they were able to learn more about an active shooter situation from it.

“The reason we do this is so we can work out the bugs,” he said, adding that they would go over the day and see what needs to be changed.

The drill: Once the students were made aware of the “shooter,” the school enacted a “run, hide, fight” plan,  with some students running from the shooters, some classrooms hiding from the shooters and others prepared to “fight” them.

The students then met at a pre-determined spot and were guided down to Crossroads Middle School, from which they were then taken to Cedar Cliff High School by bus. Once they were all there, the students were dismissed.

Some students did stay behind after others left for the "reunification" process, where students are picked up by their parents. The parents had to sign in and show identification, giving both parents and the teachers some experience in how they would pick up the students in the event of an actual shooting.

Impact: Karyn Brown, director of pupil services with Spring Grove Area School District, was observing the drill with several administrators from other school districts. Observers were able to watch the drill through a series of cameras set up throughout the school.

Brown watched the first drill at Central York, and was then involved in Spring Grove's own drill in 2014. She felt the drills were helping and wanted to talk more with her staff about these situations.

“The more districts do this and include each other, it really does help,” she said.

Christina Metcalfe, librarian with Red Land High School for 19 years, hid with a student in the library for more than an hour during the event.

“It was intense,” she said. “You definitely heard gunfire.”

“Even though you know it was a drill, at times it felt very real,” she said.

Active shooter drill set for Red Land High

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com