ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) - In reaction to a Target 8 investigation about active shooter training, Rockford schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler weighed in on the dramatic drill caught on camera.
"Fire drills are important. Tornado drills are important. But I think in today's world, these are just -- if not more -- important," he said.
While watching the investigation, Shibler shook his head in disagreement at some points, including the part of the story discussing whether or not teachers should carry guns in schools.
"I'm absolutely against that," said Shibler. "We know that professional law enforcement officers go through hundreds and hundreds of hours of training every year to deal with difficult situations like was just described, and many of them still feel uncomfortable when dealing with a real life situation. To ask a lay people -- civilians -- to do that with [only] several hours of training a year just quite frankly puts us into a more dangerous situation than not."
Shibler also disagreed with the Calhoun County deputies' direction to tell teachers they should throw objects at any potential intruders as a way of fighting for one's life.
"Physiologically, it's very clear that when a person's in a panicked situation that the blood drains basically from their head, from their brain, and they literally cannot function the way they need to," said Shibler. "When you're in a real-life situation where your life is in danger, yes, fight for your life fight for the lives of your children as well that you're responsible for protecting. But will you be able to do that? That's the key. Will you be able to pick up a stapler or some other weapon and throw it at the person? Quite frankly, I hope what happens, which should happen, is that the door should be locked. In fact, the door should be locked during the entire school day at each classroom so that [teachers] don't have to go out in the hallway and try to lock their doors."
But Shibler agreed with the training more than he didn't.
"I am a strong believer in preparation and training and that's what they're doing at Pennfield and I think I applaud that," Shibler said.
He said their teachers too are told to push objects up against doors.
While he doesn't plan for teachers to be taught to throw things at an attacker, he said he does plan to bring up the possibility of using an airsoft gun in their training sessions -- just to make it that much more real.
"As you mentioned in your report, this is a sign of the times. It's unfortunate but we have to be prepared and we don't know when someone is going to become a threat for whatever reason. And I wish it wasn't, but it is," Shibler said.
Michigan requires schools to do at least two "lockdown drills" each year. The recommendation is that includes a school shooting scenario, but nothing like the intensive training displayed in the Target 8 investigation is required by law.
Michigan lockdown drill regulations (pdf)
Global civil rights icon Nelson Mandela, whose legacy is ending South African apartheid, has died.
The case of a man accused of the involuntary manslaughter of three children who died in a February apartment fire is ready to go to a jury.
A Grand Rapids man has been arrested in connection to the case of a Jenison teen who was missing.