Goose Creek school revisits shooter drill

Photo by Dave MacQueen (WCIV)

by Stacy

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- Students in Newtown, Conn.{}returned to school Tuesday, barring those who attend Sandy Hook Elementary.

As a result of the massacre, parents, school officials and elected leaders are trying to find ways to prevent a similar attack. In Goose Creek, one school has been training for such a threat.{}

ABC News 4 visited Howe Hall{}Arts Infused Magnet School during a shooter drill in{}October.{}

"The scenario was a{}law enforcement{}officer pretending to be a disgruntled parent looking for his child. He came in, had certain targets in the building, then barricaded himself in a classroom," Principal Chris Swetckie said.

It was just a practice, but no one could have predicted how real it could become in two months.

"There are a lot of heavy hearts yesterday and a lot of parents throughout the nation are thinking about their child and how this would impact them. Our parents were very appreciative we had done the drill and we'd taken the proactive response," Swetckie said.

He said he heard from a lot of parents over the last few days. School officials asked parents to talk to their kids about what happened in Newtown. He told parents the October drill was successful. He said the school learned it needed to streamline all door keys in to one master.

The front door of the school is the only door through which visitor can enter during a normal school day. But from the inside, students and visitors can get out through any door in case of an emergency. The principal said parents used to complain about the inconvenience, but now they are grateful for the safety measure.

"There's no system that's going to be 100-percent effective, but I think we've done at this time everything that is humanly possible to keep this school as safe as possible for kids," Swetckie said.

But, he knew Sandy Hook had drills, too. Swetckie said there are just some things for which{}you can't prepare.

"I love going to the{}classroom and watching them light up when they learn something new. I think those positive things far outweigh any potential risks. Is it sad? It's tragic. You hope it never happens. But I can't imagine not sending my children to school for that," he said.

Berkeley County law enforcement officials said they visited schools and met with administrators Monday and Tuesday.

Howe Hall AIMS officials referred parents to their PTA page for tips for talking to children about the elementary school shooting.