Students taught to fight an active shooter if there is no way out

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LACEY, Wash. -- Would you know how to react in case of an active shooter situation?

It’s a question you may want to ask yourself and your children.

A recent FBI report reveals a 200% increase in workplace and school shootings in the past 7 years compared to the previous 7.

With the scary reality, one local crisis expert is on a mission to prepare people especially students on how to react.

Inside Nisqually Middle School, students are faced with a life or death choice.

Crisis expert Jesus Villahermosa is teaching students how to survive if they encounter an armed intruder.

“You can’t move very well can you,” Villahermosa said.

On instinct, students want to hide under a desk. Jesus says it’s not safe.

“Typically we would tell people to be down here crouching,” Villahermosa said.

The safest place to hide in a classroom is against the wall closest to a ‘locked’ door.

“We are going to lock this door because we know bad guys don’t like shooting through doors that’s just a fact.

“The number one tactic that saves lives is lockdown,” Villahermosa said.

Villahermosa says students should stay quiet unless the shooter starts to breach the door.

He says a window makes a good escape but if there is now way out?

“One option to consider is fighting for your life don’t you think 30 of you can tackle a guy my size? Asked Villahermosa.

It’s a question these students have never been asked before.

“Everything surprised me since I’ve learned just to hide,” student Hunter Hallford said.

“The body can’t go where the minds never been,” North Thurston Public Schools Director of School Safety Rich Yelenich said.

Yelenich says sadly it’s not a matter of if but when these kids might face a shooter in the classroom.

“It’s sort of the hand we are being dealt by society,” Yelenich said.

It’s already happened at nearby North Thurston High School where, earlier this year a 17-year-old opened fire inside the packed commons area.

And on Wednesday a man and woman shot dozens of people at a Southern California office building. It only serves as a reminder that violence can strike anywhere at any time.

Villahermosa says our primary defense whether in the office or at school is to have a plan and react.

Villahermosa says if you see or hear the shooter and you cannot hide behind a locked door the best thing to do is run as far away as possible.

Running is one thing but some parents say it’s scary to tell a middle schooler to fight or tackle a shooter if there is no way out.

“It’s tough to teach the kids that though my mind has to wrap around that I am not sure that’s a tough one.
Others want their kids to be prepared for the day they may have to make critical choices that could be the difference between life or death.

“I would much rather see my child go in with a fight and I would do the same,” parent Princess Brown said.

North Thurston Public Schools invited Villahermosa to speak to all their middle schools and most of their high schools.

Out of the more than 5800 students invited to attend only 2 students opted out.

The district says most parents were very pleased with the district’s decision to hold the tough discussion.