Pellissippi State faculty take active shooter training course

Pellissippi State faculty take active shooter training course

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By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The head of the security at Pellissippi State is urging the college's faculty and staff to take greater steps to ensure student safety in the classroom.

On Monday, Director of Safety and Security Fred Breiner sent an email to all faculty and staff members recommending they take a training course on how to deal with an active shooter scenario.

The free online course is offered through FEMA and begins with the question the question: "Are you prepared?"

Ella Ruggles, a professor of video production at Pellissippi State, said it's an important question to be able to answer.

"I think it's our responsibility as instructors to end up thinking about how we can handle situations, because we're not exempt.  It's happening all over, whoever thought it would happen at an elementary school?" Ruggles asked.

Ruggles says as a professor the shooting in Newtown, Conn. made her extra-aware of what she would do in a similar situation.

"Basically, we have a door that has a window and the first thing I would do is to get everyone over to the back wall over here," she explained, describing her plan in one of the school's multimedia classrooms.

But she says extra training would be helpful.

"A lot of [the training course] seems to me to be common sense, but then again, on the other hand when people are under a lot of stress they don't necessarily think about that," she said.

The 45-minute training video describes different scenarios and what to do in each. It is not designed specifically for a school environment, but Breiner says it is part of the school's ongoing commitment to safety on campus.

Students say any additional safety measures are welcome.

"It definitely wouldn't hurt to take it and if they want to then it benefits me and everyone else," said student Justin Tackett.

Nicolas Martiendale said he feels very safe on campus, but agrees the training is smart.

"It seems like it would be a really good idea to better inform the faculty and staff," Martiendale said.

Ruggles said she plans to take it as soon as possible and hopes it will help in case the worst ever happens.

"I don't know how you can be an instructor and not think about it. Whether they're elementary students, high school students, college students, they're still your kids," Ruggles said. "It's like, what would I do to protect them?

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