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Preparing for the worst: early education teachers in Newport News receive active shooter training

The training is designed for caretakers of children five and younger.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Shootings can happen anywhere and knowing what to do in an emergency can save your life and others.

That was the message at a special training for teachers and childcare workers, Saturday morning. They learned what to do and how to keep children safe in an active shooter scenario.

The course is called, Intruder Response Preparedness Training. Two organizations are behind it: Child Care Aware of Virginia and the Institute for Childhood Preparedness.  

Susanne Rakes of Child Care Aware of Virginia explained the course offers instruction on how to prepare for the worst and keep children calm in an emergency. 

“We’re going to learn how to perceive a threat, how to respond to a threat, how to get children out safely, or how to barricade doors. It’s just a sign of our times that we need to share this information," Rakes said.

“Let them know that the adults there are to keep them safe, keep them calm so there’s no panic if they do have to leave. If they have to remain and they barricaded a door, they have to know to be quiet, and it takes a really strong person to remain calm as an adult and still take care of these children.”

Rakes said 75 people registered for the training at Resurrection Lutheran Church and School in Newport News.

The training comes as the community there continues to heal after the Richneck Elementary school shooting where – police say – a six year old student shot his first grade teacher. Rakes said this training isn’t in response to that but incidents like that, and other shootings across the country, only highlight the need for training.

“We were are already aware of the great need and we had already had this training prepared to go with the institute for child preparedness. So we just felt it was even more urgent and we’re right on top of that," Rakes said.

Event organizers say they hope to host another training in Virginia Beach this summer.

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