ALBANY, La (NBC33) — It was an unexpected half day for students at Livingston Parish schools today. That's after Albany High School was flooded with first reponders. It was all part of a drill to get the community prepared for the worst.
Gunshots echoed off the floos in the high school. It's a sound no teacher ever wants to hear. "You can't really describe it or prepare for it," says teacher, Bradley Watts. "You're in your classroom and then you hear shots.
Even though educators across the parish knew the school shooting was completely fake, the emergency drill felt all too real. "You still find yourself jumping, you know, and automatically looking at the door, looking at the window, starting to think what do you do now? Are you safe? And you start looking at your classroom in a different way."
Four different law enforcement agencies worked with the school system to set up the mock shooting. "We're all working together," says Jason Ard with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office. "We're all making sure that we have one plan that works for everybody, and so this is kind of sort of a test to make sure that its working."
They sent in a shooter, and then put their response plan into action. "They can understand what a gunshot sounds like, and also what a gunshot may smell like," he explains.
First responders went through the motions of catching the bad guys. "When I heard those sirens arriving it kind of gave me that sense of 'okay, help is on the way. The calvary is here,'" says Albany High School principal, Jill Prokop.
Teachers followed their plans to keep the classroom safe. "We told our teachers, Heaven forbid, we have an active shooter we want to be able to say we've put you in this situation before so you know how to react," says superintendent Bill Spear.
Their goal, to make sure everyone is prepared for the real thing, inside the school and out. "There's a lot of different things that the teachers take away from this. There are a lot of different things that law enforcement and your first responders take away from this," says Ard.
They all hope something like this will never happen, but if it does, they'll be ready.