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New Santa Fe ISD teachers required to undergo active shooter training course

The course, known as Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, teaches survival strategies. In Santa Fe ISD, new hires are required to take the class.

SANTA FE, Texas — Parents have shared with KHOU 11 that school safety is top of mind. A new school year can come with a lot of anxiety. 

No one knows that better than perhaps the City of Santa Fe, a community healing from a mass shooting four years ago. 

Teachers there are facing their fears by learning how to respond smarter.

On May 18, 2018, a gunman at Santa Fe High School killed 10 people.

Ruben Espinosa had planned to retire from the Texas Department of Public Safety that month, but found himself at Santa Fe instead.

“Hi. I’m Ruben Espinoza. I’m your chief for the ISD police. Thanks for being here this morning,” Espinoza said.

Espinoza teaches new hires how to respond in an active shooter situation.

“Everyone counts on the school district to protect our kids. It’s a heavy responsibility,” Espinoza said.

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The course, known as Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE), teaches survival strategies. It includes studying previous school shootings, listening to 911 dispatch calls, and learning from past mistakes.

“It’s just reality now, that we have to expose people to this type of stuff,” Espinoza said.

The class is a first for many participants, such as Liz Vickers, a first-time teacher.

“It can make you feel a little apprehensive coming into the teaching profession. But really it empowers you, because we can’t live in fear. We have to be prepared,” Vickers said.

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Chief Espinoza tells them it can be simple as routinely locking their classroom doors.

“Get there a few minutes before school and practice locking the door, because when you’re under a lot of stress, you’re going to be shaking,” Espinoza said.

CRASE teaches participants to avoid giving the gunman access to their classrooms, denying them entry by barricading doors, and if that does not work, defend.

“You’re going to have to dig deep and do something,” Espinoza said.

Santa Fe ISD requires new hires to take the course, which also includes Stop the Bleed training and how to conduct campus emergency preparedness drills. Refresher courses are also offered throughout the school year.

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