App State and Watauga High School stay current on active shooter situations


Jackie Park, Reporter

In recent years the frequency of shootings, particularly at schools, has risen dramatically. Research has shown that since 2011, the number of mass shootings per year has tripled. Two weeks ago, there were two school shootings the day after one another.

“Fortunately we have not (encountered an active shooter situation); however, we continuously train and prepare for these types of situations,” Capt. Todd Corley of Appalachian State Police Department said.

Additionally, with the uptick in gun violence, policies must adapt.

“University Police policies and training methods are regularly reviewed and updated to provide officers with protocols for assessing a threat and performing rapid intervention tactics to limit serious injury or loss of life when responding to active shooter and similar deadly force incidents,” Corley said.

Watauga High School also must keep up-to-date with the steps they take in a possible active shooter situation.

“To my knowledge, there hasn’t been an active shooter on the campus of WHS. We had a scenario earlier this year where we had to have a lockdown, and our students and staff handled it very well,” Watauga High School Principal, Chris Blanton, said.

“As far as changes, the plans are reviewed on a pretty regular basis to ensure student safety,” Blanton said. “I think Columbine is what really triggered everyone to take a close look at what we are doing to keep kids safe.”

“University Police offer ‘Shots Fired’ training to students, faculty and staff on how to respond to an ‘active shooter’ on campus or in the workplace,” Corley said. “This training is approximately 60-90 minutes with response techniques and Q and A. This training helps individuals get in the right mindset if ever confronted with an active shooter situation.”

Additionally, App State Police Department participates annually in exercises to keep them up-to-date and test their responses to emergency situations.

Story by Jackie Park, News Reporter