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Cary-Grove Pleased With School Shooting Drill

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Updated 01/30/13 – 4:31 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Police and school officials said they’re pleased with the way a school shooting drill unfolded Wednesday morning at Cary-Grove High School in the northwestern suburbs.

Cary Police Chief Steve Casstevens said two starter-pistol shots were fired from opposite ends of Cary-Grove High School shortly after nine o’clock this morning but that was after students had been locked in classrooms.

There had been a sweep to make sure there were no stragglers and that all doors were locked. In all, the drill lasted about 10 minutes.

As to criticism by some parents with the use of gunfire in the school as part of the drill, Chief Casstevens said, “Reality is–as sad as it is–this is the society we live in. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend these type of things don’t happen.”

Community District 155 Supt. Dr. Johnnie Thomas said the drill went well, although he said there are a few changes that will probably be needed in the school’s safety plan.

“It’s all about being prepared,” he said. “We’re entrusted with a lot of lives. So for us it’s making sure everyone knows exactly what they need to do in the event of a crisis.”

Casstevens said he expected the drill to be a yearly thing.

Before the school day started, many Cary-Grove High School students said the “code red” drill was a good thing and that they did not mind gunshots being fired in the school during the drill.

“The teachers afterwards had some opportunity to have some dialogue and debriefing. The students felt, from reports that were given to me, felt they barely heard it. Some felt like there should have been more to give the effect,” said Thomas.

Student Sarah Williams told CBS 2′s Derrick Blakley it was more shocking than frightening.

“I wasn’t necessarily that scared, but … it was shocking. I wasn’t scared, because I knew it was going to happen, but if it was real I definitely would have been scared,” she said.

But schoolmate Sam Clinger admitted he was frightened when the shots went off.

“The gunshots were right outside of my classroom, and I was pretty scared personally,” he said.

Parents and students were alerted of the drill 48 hours in advance. Still, some were angry.

Sylvia Grish said, “It’s up to the people in control at the school that need to know what that sounds like, not the children.”

However, more parents seemed sadly resigned that, since school shootings have become so frequent, preparation must be more real.

Student Kate Boyd said, “It’s kind of like it shows you what it could be like, so I do think it was a good idea, but at the same time, it is a little scary.”

Fellow student Cara Capognigro said, “I don’t know what it is about that sound of a gun going off, but it’s not a good sound. It’s just not a good feeling.”

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