It's called Active Shooter Training, according to William Juracka, Jim Thorpe Area School District's director of transportation and security, and it will happen on Sunday, December 13th at the Penn-Kidder campus. The members of the Jim Thorpe Area School Board was invited to attend, but few seemed willing to become targets in the exercise. Juracka advanced the invitation during his report to the board during its Monday meeting.
"The first three hours of the exercise are classroom training," Juracka said. "This is then followed by a number of scenarios throughout the building and we shoot up the school with paint balls."
Board member Ellen Kattner asked whether the paint balls would damage the school. Juracka answered that these paint pellets were actually filled with colored soap. He said it wipes right off, but still hurts if you get hit.
Board president Randall Smith thanked Juracka for his report. "We always prepare for the worst and hope for the best," he said. "But these kinds of preparations really make us all feel comfortable that if something doesn't go the way it's supposed to, we'll be prepared to handle it."
Juracka also reported that all district buildings now have police band radios on the premises. Jim Thorpe Police Detective Joseph Schatz was at the school, training administrators in the use of the radios, which allow police personnel to know which building is having a problem even if the radio operator is unable to speak into the handset.
Mark Nalesnik, director of the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency, also worked with the school to get the radios set up and is now working with Juracka to set up some table top exercises for the district's crisis committee. Juraka said that crisis committee members will be given a scenario and asked how they would handle the situation.
"What would you do if we got a bomb threat during a football game, for instance," Juracka said. "We'll have that training event in early December."
When thanked by the board for his report, Juracka added: "We are much better prepared than other school districts."