Safety Training at Southern Local | News, Sports, Jobs
SALINEVILLE – The Southern Local School District takes care of safety by training staff to subdue aggressors in an active situation.
Two educators underwent intensive training through the Advanced Training Group in Lisbon between August 24 and September 1 to assist in the event of an incident if necessary. Local Southern High School Guidance Counselor Alannah Smith and Junior High Teacher Todd Walters spent four days working with ATG staff to learn skills that can be used by military and security forces. Jeff Haugh, Columbiana County sheriff’s deputy and resource manager for the local southern school, said he’s had ATG training before and it’s not an easy task, especially for ordinary citizens. .
“It’s not something the average person should go through,” he said. “Training is normally reserved for Navy SEALS and SWAT teams, but much of what they go through could be used in a school scenario.”
He said he had been in talks with ATG operator Adam Newbold, who had conducted trainings with the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office over the years and had also worked with federal officials. The duo talked about the education of some educators and two representatives were sent from the South for some hardcore instruction.
“They train so that you can do anything if you believe it,” Hugh added. “It’s something you can’t imagine going through on your own and it affects you physically and mentally. It’s far more advanced than anything I would have put anyone through, but the opportunity s came up and we grabbed it.
Smith agreed, saying the experience was very intense.
“It was four days, or 16 hours, of training with personal melee defense, recognizing a potential threat and acting accordingly,” she commented. “There are opportunities to come back to train the trainer. It has been extremely useful to me and I will be able to use it throughout my life. I definitely learned lifesaving techniques to save you in any situation.
Walters described the training as very demanding and structured and said Newbold showed them techniques that make a huge difference in a desperate situation.
“I think the training was worth it and it all has merit,” he noted. “It was one of the most unique instructions I’ve had and it tests you. It was very tough physically. I told people, ‘You’ll never experience something like this in your life, no matter your size, age or gender.
Newbold, a retired Navy SEAL, also served as a CIA special adviser and praised Smith and Walters for their dedication to unarmed defense sessions.
“They did an exceptional job and are very capable. We took them to a whole new level,” he said. “It’s a fight in a high-risk, life-and-death arena. It is used in SEAL Teams and Special Tactics Teams and shows a reflexive reaction to a threat and situational awareness,” Newbold explained. “I’ve worked with thousands of civilians and we do a lot of training with different schools in active fire, aggressive response, and armed and unarmed defense.”
He said these skills were vitally important and having that extra layer of protection in a school scenario made a difference.
“When my child goes to school seven or eight hours a day, I want them to be protected, and our teachers and administrators need to be protectors. I believe it’s every adult’s responsibility to protect children. We have been working with schools and churches for 10 years but for four years it has become a priority for schools Even if you have ORS and they are on the other side of the school and some thing happens, we believe that in every school system there are people with the proper education who can fill the void.
He said the training also helps give people the option to get away quickly or help out until authorities respond to the scene. Meanwhile, more school staff were due to undergo training at the ATG and officials could also take part in a threat identification program with criminal profiler Phil Chalmers in Massillon on October 26.
Haugh said it’s just another way to prepare if a real event happens at schools, and it takes a hard lesson from the tragedies at Uvalde, Parkland and other schools.
“One thing in common with the school shootings is that everyone thought it would never happen there. The school board and administration at Southern Local were very supportive of ways to improve the security.