Precaution is the name of the school safety game

By Anna Carrera

Published 08/19 2014 04:54PM

Updated 08/19 2014 06:15PM

TOLONO -- A threat could present itself anywhere at any time. That's one reason why active-shooter training is becoming more popular across Central Illinois. Thousands of students are getting ready to start school Wednesday. But, Tuesday, teachers took action to make sure they all stay safe from shooters. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera has more.

More than just fire and tornado drills, teachers are now learning other skills too. It all started with the University of Illinois, since the instructors work at the campus police department. But, they say more schools, with younger students, are looking for the training.

Many schools have increased security in the past few years by adding cameras and locking doors. Now, teachers are learning a human element to add to the mix.

"It's always in the back of your head that it could happen here."

School leaders at Unity High already had some plans in place, but now they're looking at more options.

"It's not something that we've got something that we're comfortable with. We're just going to sit back on our heels and be complacent. We're always looking at ways to improve school safety."

Another thing to consider is how location could pose problems.

"We are more of a remote school and response times for first responders, police, fire, ambulance, is even that much more compounded, so we need to be able to take care of ourselves as best we can until help eventually gets to us."

Instead of just locking down and hiding, these teachers are learning a new strategy.

"Now, we're having a different discussion about this, which is, let's be more active. Let's use our resources that are around us. Let's not just sit and be a sitting target. Let's do something to help defend ourselves and our students."

By practicing what to do, their goal is to be ready for something they hope never happens.

"We're definitely taking a proactive approach to making sure this is the safest place for students in our community."

When working with high schools, the instructors go into a few different topics than they would for university professors. It includes teen suicide and the impact of social media. Unity leaders say they plan to pass along the training to parents and kids at their school.

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