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High School to Fire Blanks During Shooting Drill
Starter pistol aims to familiarize kids with sound of gunfire
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff | Suggested by Ballantyne
Posted Jan 30, 2013 6:24 AM CST
The high school will use blanks shot from a starter pistol for the drill.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A Chicago-area high school has an unconventional safety drill slated for today: During its "code red drill," Cary-Grove High School is going so far as to have someone in the hallway shoot blanks from a starter pistol. The point? "To provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire," said the principal in a letter. Teachers will keep students inside, with doors locked and curtains drawn, as police sweep the school. Students are aware of the drill, and there will be a PA announcement beforehand, the Northwest Herald reports.

"The purpose is to take the Code Red drill one step further," explains the police chief, adding that "many" students have "never heard a gunshot before." Needless to say, parents don't think it's a great idea, CBS Chicago reports. Some point out that not all guns sound alike; one calls it "sick." Others are in favor: "Nowadays it’s better to be safe than sorry," says one; a school spokesperson claims they've heard from as many supportive parents as dissenting ones, and adds, "Any step we can take to give them an advantage in a crisis situation is a step we should be taking."

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Jan 30, 2013 11:51 PM CST
" Needless to say, parents don't think it's a great idea" And a better idea for a drill involving an invasion into your school by a gunman is?
Jan 30, 2013 5:27 PM CST
This was done in the high school where I teach 4-5 years ago (or more). Staff and students knew the day of the drill and had to react to the shots rather than an announcement at an undisclosed time. (Although, if you taught next to the office, you probably noticed when the cops came in.) The cops traveled to every room and shook the doors trying to hear us or see us. Most realistic and best drill ever, in my opinion. During a fire, the alarm should sound, but during a shooting there will most likely be no warning other than gunfire...and panic, when it's real. The shots gave us a little of that panic to feel.
Jan 30, 2013 2:05 PM CST
Just to clarify, this drill was conducted in a suburb about two hours north of Chicago (Cary-Grove High School, as the article stated). So no, these suburban kids are not used to gun fire, other than maybe going on a hunting trip with a relative. However, as a parent stated in an article leading up to the drill: “They run fire drills all the time, but they don’t run up and down the hallway with a flamethrower.”