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 A man in an orange vest talks to a gym full of people befor an active shooter drill at HeatonIn the name of vigilance and preparedness, the District once again partnered with local law enforcement and first responders in the staging of an active shooting training exercise at Heaton Middle School.

This training is designed to keep the District, the Pueblo Police Department, Pueblo Fire Department and AMR prepared in the event of an actual incident.

Roughly 200 District personnel volunteered to take part in the drill, filling the role of students, school staff and parents.

The morning began with a briefing led by Mike Bayer, the District’s Director of School Culture, Wellness, and Safety.

“It’s unfortunate that we actually have to have this type of event, but we have to be sure that we are prepared for any type of crisis,” said Mr. Bayer. “So working with our public safety officials and agencies, we want to practice so that in the event we do have to respond, we do it as efficiently, effectively and timely as possible.”

In the mock scenario, an armed intruder entered the Heaton building, which led to a lockdown and a robust police response.

This was followed by the evacuation of parties from the building, treatment of “victims” by AMR and fire department personnel, and neutralization of the threat by police.

The reunification of “students” with “parents” comprised the second half of the drill. With the school’s football field serving as the staging area, those evacuated from the building were transported by bus to East High School, the designated reunification site.

The day concluded with a debriefing in the Heaton auditorium to assess the effectiveness of the exercise.

“Unfortunately, we are in the day and time when we have to be really good at this, both on your end and our end,” Pueblo Police Sergeant Steve Perez told the volunteers. “We want the kids to have a nice and safe environment to come to: a place to learn and not have to worry about anything else.”

From the District side, Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso, her Leadership Team and Heaton Principal Jayme Cardinal and her staff played in an integral role in the response to mock threat.

“We would like to thank our first responder partners for their continued service to our District and community,” Superintendent Macaluso said. “Although it’s unfortunate that such drills have become necessary, we never want to be lax when it comes to ensuring that our schools remain safe and worry-free places, where learning and growing are paramount.”

Police officers participate in a drill at Heaton