NEW ROADS — The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board authorized the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday to conduct “Active Shooter Response Training” at Livonia High School next month as part of an ongoing effort to increase school safety in the wake of recent school shootings nationwide.
Sheriff Bud Torres told the board the day-long training will involve deputies from his office and first responders from across the parish, including EMTs and local firefighters.
The board voted unanimously to approve the training.
“We’re expanding the training to everyone that would be involved in a true-life situation,” Torres told the board during its regular meeting Thursday night.
“It’s going to be as real as you can get. We’re hoping we can train forever and ever but never have to use it.”
Torres said the staged scenario will take place at 8 a.m. Oct. 21 at Livonia High — a day when the entire student body will be out of school.
However, the sheriff said, several students will be involved in the training exercise to heighten the sense of danger for the training officers.
“It’s going to be a safe demonstration — no firearms — (but) the officers will be acting on limited information,” Torres said.
Board member Anita LeJeune said she liked the idea of students participating in the exercise. “It gives them a personal investment and responsibility,” LeJeuen said. “They’re not just an audience.”
The sheriff also told board members the three certified school resource officers the board approved funding for back in April are graduating from the training academy in about two weeks and will be in place shortly at Rougon, Valverda and Upper Pointe Coupee elementary schools.
The school district already has two resource officers. One is assigned to Livonia High School and the other is at Rosenwald Elementary School.
The board allocated $170,000 to fund a contract with the Sheriff’s Office to hire the new resource officers in direct response to the Dec. 14 mass murders in Newtown, Conn.
Back in April, Torres also presented the School Board with more than $500,000 worth of additional school campus security measures such as electric gates, recessed fencing and a networked camera system for its campuses.
The school districts hoping it can secure grant funding to implement some of the sheriff’s proposals in the near future.