Students at Wheeling Middle School took part in a SWAT training drill on Wednesday, as Wheeling Police showed students what would happen in a hostage situation.
It seemed like a regular school day, until the training started.
Soon the SWAT team pinpointed the classroom where the so-called shooter was barricaded.
“We had one of our staff members show up as an active shooter,” explained Wheeling Police Resource Officer Sergeant Greg Harris. “Then, they went into one of the classrooms and used that as a hostage situation.”
“I played the part of the bad guy,” added teacher and coach Shane Glass. “I’m thankful we can do this to prepare the kids in case a worst case scenario ever happened. I think it was intense for them but hopefully it’ll help them in the future.”
“Whenever they came in, they told us to put our hands on our head,” described eighth grade student Addison Wright. “It was kind of scary because I didn’t really know what was going on or happening. So, I just did and listened to what they said.”
However, a few students did not do that.
“Unfortunately, we had three or four kids that were playing around in the classroom as the drill was going on,” Sergeant Harris said. “A teacher texted me afterwards and we had to address that situation.”
“We’ve worked on those as soon as we got information,” explained Principal Rich McArdle. “We’ve tweaked it and everything will be fine.”
They even had a “man down”, a student playing an injured person. He had to lie there while officers went after the shooter.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to an active shooter situation like that we’re neutralizing the threat first before we are dealing with any casualties,” explained Wheeling Police SWAT Commander, Sergeant Jonathan Stipetich.
Students also learned how to react to first responders.
“Listen to them, do whatever they say, and not fight with them,” said Wright about what she learned.
Again, this was just a drill.
Police tell 7News a majority of the students didn’t not even know the SWAT team was there.