Thursday, 15 February 2018 18:28

Local connection to a teacher trapped in school shooting Featured

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BANGOR - In the wake of the deadly shooting yesterday at a Florida school, even regional safety measures are being reviewed.


It was the last hour of school for students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Many were gearing up to celebrate Valentine's Day with their loved ones, little did they expect the worse.


"I heard gunshots, they sounded like firecrackers," said Sarah Lerner, a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. "As soon as I heard it, I ran with my kids. My class scattered, I ended up with five or six different students."


That statement came from Lerner, a teacher who had to think quick on her feet, locking the classroom trying to save her students. A teacher who once mentored me when I was in high school.


"We lost 17 people, adults and students alike," said Lerner. "This all could have been avoided had the shooter not been able to purchase and obtain an assault rifle."


A few weeks earlier, the school practiced an active-shooter drill. Little did they ever expect to have to put that training to use.


"It was so ingrained in our consciousness, that we just knew what to do," she said. "The kids knew to get quiet, get down, turn the ringers off on your phones, no talking."


According to Lerner, it was thanks to this type of training she was able to remain calm, during what she calls, the scariest moment of her life.


"I think the training made us better prepared," she said. 


With the world tuning in, law enforcement officers stressed the importance of training educators for these scenarios.


"There's no doubt in my mind that in an emergency situation, those first few seconds the students are going to look to the person in the front of the room for guidance," said Raymond Bessette, the executive director of campus safety and security at Husson University. 


Most schools in the state have a resource officer on campus where they constantly gather information, keeping an eye on student life. According to officials, these officers are constantly building relationships with students, allowing them to have a trusted person to report suspicious activities.


"If you're at the point where you're having an internal struggle, that's the point where you should really be saying something to someone," said Bessette. 


"One of the lessons we should take from this is, treat threats very seriously," said John Michaud, the director of legal studies at Husson University. 


Everyone is asking, what's next and what do we do?


"They're perpetrated by people absolutely cowardly," said Jason Moffitt, the director of Brewer Public Safety.  "They are preying on people with no methods of defending themselves."


Jack Hilton

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Jack Hilton joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 in March of 2016. He was born in Montreal, Canada but was raised in the sunshine state, Fort Lauderdale before graduating cum laude from Husson University with a Bachelor’s deg...