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Abilene schools and APD work together to keep students safe against active threats

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ABILENE, Texas - Active threats in schools have become an all-too familiar problem over the years. Now teachers in Abilene are prepared to make decisions that will keep them and their students safe in case of an emergency. What was once known as a lock down drill is now known as an active threat drill in Abilene schools. Safety coordinator Dan Cottner at AISD said both Wylie and Abilene independent school districts met with Police Chief Stan Standridge to adopt a safety protocol. "We're a strong community in Abilene and we got together and decided to put the kids first," Cottner said. The safety protocol is to avoid, deny, and defend. Cottner said AISD and WISD adopted this protocol established by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Unit at Texas State University. Abilene ISD created an 11-minute video shown to teachers, staff, volunteers, and contractors to prepare them in case of an emergency. Assistant Principal Kevin Wellborn at Bonham Elementary said lock down drills are no longer practiced because an active threat is unpredictable.

"We want to get away from the idea that we're going to always stay put, because if there's a threat inside the building the safest place is to be outside of the building," Wellborn said. Teachers are advised to avoid the danger, if possible. Deny entry if they can't get away from the danger. The last resort is for teachers to defend themselves and their students. "We say all the time to teachers, and to parents, and to the kids that our number one job is to keep them safe," Wellborn said. Cottner said the Chief Standridge shared their safety video with over 500 municipalities during a Chiefs of Police Association conference last year.

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