LAND O’LAKES, Fla.–Men and women training to be school safety guards in Pasco County schools took part in an active shooter drill at Charles S. Rushe Middle School Friday, practicing skills and tactics each one of them hoped they’ll never have to use in a real-life incident
One by one, they made their way through a side entrance of the school as part of the drill.
“You’ve got a lot of things going through your head — ‘Where’s this guy at? Where’s this guy at? I gotta get to him and kill this guy,'” Brice Hayes explained after his turn through the door.
“Get him, get him, get him!” an instructor with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office coached trainees outside after the sound of gunshots rang out inside the school.
Hayes and others made their way upstairs and cleared classroom after classroom until they came to the room where the person playing the shooter waited.
“It is very intense,” said safety guard Arthur Ubben of the training.
Ubben worked as a police officer in New York State for more than 20 years. His fellow trainees share similar backgrounds — the district required applicants have ten years of law enforcement or military experience.
“It’s not some kid walking off the street, says he was a cop for a year, comes in and does this,” said Ubben. “Their heads are on straight, they know what they’re doing. They don’t have to have it ground in their head what to do because they have the muscle memory.”
The guards were hired by the district after state legislators passed new school safety regulations following the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. They’ll be stationed in elementary schools not already staffed by school resource officers.