On Tuesday, Feb. 22, Forsyth County law enforcement went to West Forsyth to practice for a school shooting scenario. The drill involved over 100 police officers and firefighters as well as over 200 students, teachers and other adults, each with varying roles.
Because few West Forsyth students volunteered to join the exercise, several North Forsyth students filled in for the necessary roles, including North Junior Wyatt Campbell, who played the role of a survivor “in one of the first rooms the shooters were supposed to enter.”
“Students and adults played their roles very well. As an example, an administrator found several of us hiding in the gym and snuck us into his office,” Campbell told the Raider Wire.
However, according to him, not everyone played out their roles as well as they could have.
“The police and firefighters did great, but the medical teams were a bit lazy and did not do what we were told they would do. Also, the two shooters themselves diverged from the route we were told they were going to take.”
That said, drills like these are necessary to counter school shootings, many of which receive large amounts of attention from the press. Famous incidents include shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 2007 and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Mass killings – at schools and elsewhere – receive large amounts of attention from the national press. While schools are the most prolific targets due to well-known incidents like Columbine and Sandy Hook, many killings have taken place elsewhere, such as at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 and at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016.
Statistically, it is unclear whether or not mass shootings have been getting more common since the 1980s, with the data often changing depending on the definition of “mass shooting.”
Preparedness is key if such an event does happen, and drills like the one at West are how emergency services are going about it. Even if mass shootings are rare, they are scary events for all involved and such fears drive efforts to make sure the risk of a shooting in Forsyth County is minimized.