LCSO trains at Gateway Charter High in case of active shooter threat

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office held an active shooter training at Gateway Charter on Thursday.

The school dealt with a threat a year ago when a 14-year-old was arrested for making threats against the school.

Florida has dealt with its school shootings.

“We train for the worst-case scenario and we always pray for the best,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.

A worst-case scenario is like the one in Parkland in 2018 when a teen killed 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Valentine’s Day.

“We look at different scenarios that happened all over the country and different scenarios meaning changing by the second by the minute, unfortunately,” Marceno said.

Gateway Charter High School students also help deputies during the two-day active shooter training.

Trainers explain that those responding need to know how to communicate, focus and know how to hold their weapon while navigating through a school hall with panicked students.

LCSO deputy Diego Orjuela knows how important this type of training is.

“It’s gotten real realistic. Where before we would just use ourselves now we’re having our sheriff explorers,” Orjuela said. “It makes it real realistic where they’re laying on the floor and acting like the potential bad guy.”

Orjuela hopes he never has to use the training.

Gateway Charter High School Principal Amber Jensen has worked at the school for more than a decade.

She never thought she’d have to get a lesson in active shooter training.

“It’s a huge responsibility to think that decisions I make impact the lives of 1300-plus people,” Jensen said. “So, it just makes me take it even more serious and knowing that what I do in my actions make sure that people go home.”

A bad situation could unfold in seconds.

“It’s scary because we have kids that are in schools that maybe have 1000 students at a time and we have to be active amongst them and we have to potentially stop a threat. So it’s scary at times,” Orjuela said.

Staff members at the school credit training like this one with helping them deal with a threat last year.

“Unfortunately this is the world we live in now and so it’s very important for schools. Not only the teachers, the faculty but the students that they know what to do in case that something like this happens,” said Diana Weiner, an administrative assistant at Gateway Charter High. “That’s why we also have drills during the year.”

Marceno said students are going to be safe.

“We’re going to make certain of it,” Marceno said. “I can tell you we’re going to do everything we can and that’s why we train the way we do.”

LCSO wants to remind both parents and staff that making a threat even just via test or email is investigated..

Reporter:Andrea Guerrero
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