It'll sound like something terrible is happening inside a Missoula elementary school tomorrow, June 13th, but rest assured; it's all staged and meant to train teachers and staff for a worst-case scenario.
Missoula County Public Schools continues the district's Active Resistance Training from 8:00 a-m to 5:00 p-m at Paxson Elementary on the corner of Higgins and Evans Avenues.
District spokeswoman, Hatton Littman, says Active Resistance Training is designed to train faculty and staff on how to respond to an intruder - one who may be armed - in their school. Litttman describes A.R.T as a "run, lock and fight" approach to potential school safety incidents.
"If you have an intruder in your building, you should always avoid danger; run away from the danger. Number two, you should barricade or lock yourself in a safe place, but number three - if those two things don't provide enough of a safe retreat, then you need to have some skills to learn how to fight back until law enforcement can arrive on the scene to support you."
Littman says the first 4-minutes of a violent school intruder incident are critical because that's the minimum amount of time it takes for emergency responders to arrive on scene:
Participants tomorrow will join in classroom lecture and strategy sessions, then engage in some active training with local law enforcement officers and district trainers. Those exercises will intentionally create chaotic situations involving shouting, simulated physical violence and the firing of blanks.
That noise could, understandably, alarm anyone who isn't aware they're actually overhearing a planned training session. Don't worry. Please don't call 9-1-1 and remember that the school year is over anyway.
Littman says says school staff who have participated in previous Active Resistance Training sessions have universally praised the program saying it helps them prepare for not only a potential workplace emergency, but one that may take place in their personal lives.