MIAMI – As students in South Florida prepare to head back to the classroom, Miami-Dade Public Schools held an active shooter training at a Miami high school Monday morning.
The realistic drill, held at Miami Senior High School, located at 2450 SW First St. in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood, was designed to prepare first responders for the worst.
“That’s the way you get to evaluate them, and we get to expose them to see what it is,” Miami-Dade Schools Police Department Chief Ivan Silva said. “There’s a difference when you train and nothing’s happening, but when you actually put them in a stressful situation, you get to see a different part of them.”
Officers from the Miami Police Department and medics from Miami Fire Rescue joined school district police officers in conducting the drill.
“We have three priorities when we respond to active shooter drills like this,” Silva said. “The main one is always to stop the killing, which means our officers are trained in single person response. What that means is they are to engage that threat immediately.”
The drill began outside the school, with the simulated shooter running into the lower level before eventually making his way upstairs. Once there, he then ran into a classroom and barricaded himself inside.
The school’s dedicated resource officer, the first to respond, then ran inside to stop the threat as quickly as possible.
“For us, everything starts with our school officers assigned to every school. That’s always our main thing. Having a dedicated school officer at every school provides us with that point of contact,” Silva said.
Within minutes, more officers arrived. The backup units used their training to communicate quickly and get on the same page.
Mari Tere Rojas, who chairs the Miami-Dade school board, witnessed the training.
“Being here today truly gave me chills, because I thought of the children that just went through this. I jumped, I had tears in my eyes,” Rojas said. “The number one priority for our school board, our superintendent and our chief of police is to do everything in our power to try and prevent a situation like the one that occurred in Parkland.”
Officials in Broward County held a similar drill the week prior at Cypress Bay High School in Weston.
Silva said he considered Monday’s drill to be a success.