School participates in active shooter drill

8:06 PM, Feb 20, 2014   |    comments
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WOODSTOCK, Ga. (WXIA) - It's the image no parent wants to see - SWAT teams and police storming their child's school. But in Cherokee County on Thursday, first responders wanted to make it look real during an active shooter drill.

They wanted to make this as realistic as possible, so while they had the plan sketched out, the agencies didn't talk to each other beforehand to see exactly what the other was doing, so in the moment, it lead to a little confusion.

Inside, the SWAT team went room to room, making sure the building was safe.

"We couldn't speak, we couldn't take out our phones to call our parents," said River Ridge HS senior Daniel Marin.

Marin says the school went on total lockdown for the drill. His role was to play a foreign exchange student who does not speak English, and who did not understand what was happening.

"I talked to several different people, and no one could translate for me or tell me what was going on," Marin said.

Marin says he was frustrated that he could not get information during the drill and his mother was confused trying to figure out where to pick him up.

"If you look here, this campus is huge," he said. "Parents don't know where to go."

Emergency management coordinated three different scenes -- the school were the staged shooting was, the hospital where 30 people were taken, and a nearby church where families were reunited.

Mom Kristie Andraschko says they let her know what was going on through email.

"This was the first one from the school this morning," she said of an email she had received from the school.

She has two kids at River Ridge and thinks the drill helped get them ready.

"It seems like it would really help them work out the bugs in the system," Andraschko said. "That's what I get out of it."

Cherokee County Police Spokesman Jay Barnes says that's the point.

"This is something we hope never happens, but we need to train for in case it does," Barnes said.

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