• Unannounced lockdown drill prepares students, faculty for armed intruder


    McKEES ROCKS, Pa. - Some parents of students at Sto-Rox Elementary School are upset after the school put its students and faculty through an unannounced lockdown drill on Wednesday.

    Sto-Rox acting Superintendent Frank Dalmas said there was an unannounced intruder drill at three schools on Wednesday.

    Dalmas said several police departments were involved in making sure the schools followed proper procedures in locking down a school in the event of an armed intruder.

    Officials said one of the main priorities of the unannounced lockdown was to evaluate each school’s weaknesses and point out possible improvements.

    “There was a little bit of confusion in the beginning, and we think it’s best because in a real situation, there is going to be a lot of confusion. It not only helps the school to train better, but it helps the Police Department,” Kennedy Township Police Chief Anthony Bruni said.

    One of the scenarios had several kids escape the building through a window.

    “Sometimes you have to find an alternate route to get out of the building. This teacher chose to get her students out of the building through the window,” Dalmas said. “We had no windows broken and no children running through the woods.”

    Teachers weren’t notified of the drill because officials wanted it to feel as realistic as possible.

    “It’s better than the planned and announced drills because it’s not a realistic look at the situation,” Dalmas said. “The unannounced plans get you an accurate look at how your staff and students respond.”

    Some parents told Channel 11’s Vince Sims that they thought the drill was too realistic.

    “I really don’t think they should do it unannounced. It would be very frightening for any parent,” grandmother Catherine Lash said.

    Some of the security measures administrators watched for were making sure doors were closed and locked, as well as making sure lights were off.

    “For that moment of anxiety and that moment of a student being scared, it is well worth the benefit if we can make our school safer,” Dalmas said.

    Dalmas said automated calls were made to parents after the drill to let them know what happened.

    "We all hope it will never happen in any of our schools, but we still want to prepare for this. It's very important we do this,” Bruni said.

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