Crisis training expert Jesus Villahermosa will be the featured speaker Tuesday (Nov 24) at a meeting for parents and other residents in North Thurston Public Schools.
The free event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Timberline High School’s theater, 6120 Mullen Road SE, Lacey. Due to the mature theme, parents are asked to not bring young children to the event, officials said.
During the past month, Villahermosa led Crisis Reality Training seminars for about 5,700 middle and high school students in the district. The retired Pierce County Sheriff’s SWAT member teaches the latest strategies to use if an active shooter were to come to a school, such as running, barricading doors and fighting back.
“It’s a very timely topic right now,” said North Thurston spokeswoman Courtney Schrieve. “…A lot of the students probably know what to do, but we train them to think in another way. (The training) sort of refreshed their minds that the main goal is to keep yourself alive.”
The training was not offered at North Thurston High School, where a student fired a gun into the ceiling and floor before being tackled by a teacher last April.
“There was some sensitivity to that,” Schrieve said.
In addition, the school is being remodeled, and there wasn’t space for the training, she added.
North Thurston Superintendent Raj Manhas said safety is a top priority for the district, and Villahermosa’s presentations are part of a series of district-wide improvements that were funded with a 2014 bond.
That work includes installation of security cameras, automatic door locks and other measures.
“While we don’t want our schools to feel like prisons, we want to empower our students and staff to have current information and options when it comes to reacting and surviving a crisis,” Manhas said.