Police shoot blanks during school drill at Cary-Grove High School

January 30, 2013 3:21:58 PM PST
Officials at Cary-Grove High School fired blanks from a starter pistol Wednesday morning to simulate a school shooting.

The drill was scheduled following the shooting at Newtown.

"It really went well and feel our team, students and staff are much better for it," the district superintendent Dr. Johnnie Thomas said.

The lockdown drill at Cary-Grove High School took about 15 minutes.

Just before the starter pistol was fired, students were alerted the gunshots were imminent.

"They fired one shot in one common hallway of school and second shot in the opposite end of the school," Cary Police Department Chief Steve Casstevens said.

Both police and school officials insist today's code red drill was done in a tightly controlled environment and that all students were confined to their classrooms.

"I was perfectly fine with it. I thought the school prepared us well for it, sent emails, explained it very well," parent Margaret Bussan said.

While it's not the first time they've used a starter pistol to simulate gunfire during a drill, it is the first time the students have been a part of it.

"It's sad that we've come to that point in our society that we need to prepare for a drill such as this, but we can't stick our head in the sand and pretend that it doesn't happen, because it does," Casstevens said.

Not everyone agrees.

The superintendent admitted some parents kept their children home from school and there were others who questioned the decision.

"Thought it was silly. I understand why they are doing it but I think it might upset some of the kids," parent Joe Canzoneri said.

Reaction was also mixed amongst the students.

"I'm used to gunfire from violent video games, so it didn't really faze me," student Terry Barnes said.

"They shot them, right next to the room I was in and they didn't consider people with anxiety issues and stuff like that," student Jack McGowan said.

One student said people need to learn what gunfire sounds like.

"Stuff like that happens and you need to be prepared no matter what. Firing the blanks? You have to know what it sounds like. I didn't expect it to be that loud," student Meghan Bennett said.