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Missoula School Safety Committee Sets Objectives Following ‘Active Resistance Training’ [AUDIO]

Rattlesnake School
photo courtesy of MCPS

In it’s first meeting since the June 11 ‘Active Resistance Training‘ exercise at Bonner School facilitated by the Safariland Group, the Public Safety Committee heard from several participants in the program, and worked to set objectives moving forward.

Missoula School District One Superintendent Alex Apostle said before Monday’s meeting that response to the training was universally positive.

“Everything I’ve heard from staff, everything I’ve heard from community members indicates it was a highly successful training,” Apostle said. “In fact, I was just talking to Captain Brad Giffin from the sheriff’s department and asked him if there was any way that this could become a recommendation from the public safety committee, and I think it would be a great way to start the process of training our staff. It could take awhile, but I think it would make a very good first recommendation.”

Apostle commented on how the active resistance training dovetails with the work the other committees are doing.

“I can’t tell you how the training correlates specifically, but I can tell you that we’re trying to create a comprehensive safety and security plan which would involve everybody,” Apostle said. “My sense is that it was a good move in the right direction.”

Superintendent Alex Apostle

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One attendee, Matt Clausen, assistant principal of Meadow Hill middle school, said he came prepared to the training to hate it, because he felt educators should educate, and not train to fight gunmen in the schools. As the training progressed, however, his attitude changed, so that now he is an enthusiastic supporter. Clausen said the Safariland trainers had never worked with such a wide variety of groups in one setting before.

“Safariland was blown away by who was in the room,” Clausen said. “They found an unprecedented partnership that they’re not seeing at a national level, to bring educators, law enforcement and different members of the community together. We had people from the hospitals and the university setting, all coming together to have the same conversation at the same time, so we’re all using the same language.”

Meadow Hill Assistant Principal Matt Clausen

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The objectives put forward by facilitator Ginny Tribe included surveying school personnel to determine what they think is most important related to increasing public safety in schools; provide training for all in active resistance and other safety protocols; conduct ongoing assessment of school environments by first responders; assure consistent, reliable systems such as locking door structures; strengthen collaboration of all local systems and dispatchers; consider expanding the number of resource officers; and provide up-to-date, ongoing training on the district’s crisis plan.

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