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Forum News Service, Published February 20 2013

Grafton to stage mock school shooting

GRAFTON, N.D. - Grafton middle and high schools will be participating in a mock shooting event Thursday to practice the school’s emergency plan. Students will not be in the school at the time, officials said.

Several victims with simulated injuries will be treated by city first responders and teachers. The plan includes a lockdown.

Grafton schools held a similar event five years before. High school Principal Darren Albrecht said this year the school decided to take advantage of the free day, which was set aside for faculty professional development.

“We think it’s important to practice,” he said.

Derek Hanson, a manager with Wenck Co., a consulting firm that will be coordinating the event, said the emphasis for the training is the response of school officials and first responders, not so much that it is a mock school shooting.

“We are here for an all-hazard approach, whether it is a gunman or a chemical spill,” he said. “If the school has to go into a lockdown, the same principles remain.”

Jody Thompson, assistant superintendent for the Grand Forks School District, said in an email to the Herald that the district has done two comprehensive “active shooter” simulations in the past several years — one each at Red River High School and Central High School. Plans are in place to conduct a simulation at one of the Grand Forks Air Force Base schools this summer.