The sound of simulated gunfire was heard this morning at Cary-Grove High School. It was part of a very realistic preparedness drill.
The use of a starter pistol firing a blank sparked some degree of controversy in the far northwest suburban community. But police and school administrators wanted to give students the opportunity to hear what a real gunshot might sound like.
“There are many students and staff who may have never heard a gunshot before,” Cary Police Chief Steven Casstevens told WGN. “And so maybe in the future, if a real incident were to happen, rather than somebody saying, ‘Hey, I wonder what that sound was?’ somebody might say, “That sounds like gunshot.’ And they know what they’re supposed to do.”
The “Code Red” emergency drill was carefully choreographed, starting just after 9 a.m. and only lasting about 15 minutes. Students and teachers were ordered by public address announcement to proceed to their classrooms and secure the door.
Police and administrators checked the halls to make sure that all the students were out of the way and in the classrooms, and a second announcement was made notifying them that a starter pistol with blanks would be fired in the hallway common area. A second blank was fired by administrators at another location in the school.
The emergency drill comes in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings and a host of other gun attacks across the country. Cary police say preparing for such emergencies is an unfortunate reality of modern life.
Students who spoke with WGN say the drill went smoothly, and they understand why it was important to fire a real starter pistol.