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St. Lucie County school leaders, law enforcement hold school emergency drill

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Posted at 11:49 AM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 16:15:16-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — School starts in a few weeks, but there is no summer break when it comes to school safety and protecting your kids.

On Tuesday, an agitated man screamed at school administrators inside Port St. Lucie High School.

"Get out of my way, I need to see my child right now! I’ve got five dead children on Facebook," he yelled.

This face-to-face confrontation came at the end of a morning-long exercise involving St. Lucie County school leaders, law enforcement, and emergency management.

Unlike an active shooter drill, Tuesday’s training was more about communication in the event of a disaster or crisis situation that may require a campus evacuation.

"We know that during times of tragedy, sometimes communication gets muddled," said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.

During the exercise, principals and assistant principals went over their emergency response plans.

"Our most important function next to teaching the children, is keeping the kids and staff safe. So you want to practice, practice, practice," said St. Lucie County Superintendent Wayne Gent.

Actors playing parents were given different roles and it was up to administrators to stick to the talking points so their message was unified.

Deescalation was a prominent buzz word and at the end of the session, the moderators evaluated the responses.

"Big picture, keeping everyone calm, directing them to where their child is located," said Fort Pierce Central Principal Monarae Miller-Buchanan.

WPTV's Jon Shainman documented the emergency drill:

The St. Lucie County School District district has hardened school campuses by creating a single point of entry at all schools. Every school in the county now has a school resource deputy, and high schools have two deputies.

In addition, staff are routinely trained in Code Red and safety protocols.