The Neosho R-5 School District hosted a training course on Friday at the district’s administrative building intended to help district administrators know how to prevent or react to an active shooter on their school campus.
The training, funded by a Department of Homeland Security grant, was taught by Bill Oliver of Strategos International, a company that specializes in intruder response training, as well as military and law enforcement training.
The course also included administrators from other area school districts, including East Newton.
Shawn Dilday, the district’s safety coordinator, said taking part in the active shooter training was another step in the district’s efforts to focus on student safety.
“We have actively been very involved with safety for students in Neosho, this was an opportunity that just came up,” Dilday said. “We’ve always been very proactive in school safety, whether it’s with our natural disasters or preparing for school shootings. We want to make sure we keep our students safe.”
Dilday said the course was one of 26 training sessions to be held across the state, and was originally scheduled to be held in Pierce City, however after the Pierce City district canceled, Neosho requested to host the training.
“The purpose of it is if we did have a shooter on campus, it’s a preparation course for safety and procedures on how to react and how to deal with a shooter on the school campus,” Dilday said.
Oliver told the administrators that while following district protocol is important in keeping students safe, there is always the risk of human error.
“Human nature is, especially in the school environment, that there’s a lot of good and there is, don’t get me wrong, but there is that 1 percent that we deal with,” Oliver said. “We have to be prepared for them and not be so trustworthy with everyone we run into. You have no idea who’s going to walk through your building.”
While Oliver taught the administrators in a classroom setting, he also demonstrated some options teachers have for securing themselves and their students in classrooms, such as barricading the classroom door.
Several local law enforcement agencies, including the Neosho Police Department and the Newton County Sheriff’s Department, also took part in Oliver’s training for part of the day, before breaking off into their own training course.