CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Angie Mende is a kindergarten teacher at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Corpus Christi.
She feels especially attached to the shooting that occurred on Tuesday in Uvalde.
“We put our lives on the line everyday for these children like they’re our own children,” Mende said.
Teachers like Mende at West Oso ISD are required to take an active shooter training that they then relay to their students.
During the drill, Mende teaches students how to turn off lights and computers, move to a corner of a room, and barricade the door.
However, she said it could be challenging to make kindergartners understand why the drill is important.
In order to not scare students, teachers call it a “lockdown” drill as opposed to an active shooter drill.
She said the drill is helping her and her students become more aware of their surroundings.
“You want to assume the best in everyone and that’s what we’re taught and that’s what we teach these students. But we also want them to be very careful, safety first, and just very cautious of people they come across that they don’t know,” Mende said.
Marcy Davis is the principal of John F. Kennedy Elementary School and said the school practices the drill once a semester.
She said she goes around knocking on doors pretending to be an intruder so she can simulate an actual situation for students.
“We’ve even had a situation where a kid will say 'Can I open it?' And the teacher will say no, we don’t know who it is and the kid will say, 'Well, no, we don’t know who it is' and the kid will say 'no, we heard Ms. Davis’ heels, we know it’s her.' But we teach them at that point, even if it’s Ms. Davis, during a lockdown drill, you don’t open that door,” Davis said.
Davis said they also teach students what to do if they find themselves the bathroom or hallways.
Chief Kirby Warnke, chief of the CCISD Police Department said he does drills with the CCISD police, simulating a shooting in an actual school hallway.
He added CCISD police work with school leadership on a drill. School leadership will then relay the drill to teachers and staff.
Warnke said if you are in a a safe environment, stay there.
He said if you’re not, then you should seek safety and if someone hears gunfire, they should barricade the door as best as they can.
He said during an active shooter situation, people should keep three things in mind:
“Those strategies employ trying to get away from threat, hide if you can and if your life is in danger, defend your life,” Warnke said.