Bardstown takes part in KSP's active shooter training

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By Kacie Goode

Startled by the sound of a blank shot ringing through the halls, participants sprung into action by locking the door and grabbing what furniture they could to form a barricade inside a classroom at Bardstown High School. Staff of both the high school and the middle school took part in hands-on active shooter training Tuesday, as part of an extended effort to improve school safety and security.


A focus on safety has intensified following deadly school shootings in Kentucky and Florida earlier this year, and the training is something Kentucky State Police have been offering to districts across the commonwealth through its Safe Schools program. Tuesday’s training included a morning and afternoon session, with around three dozen participants in each.

At the start of each session, Sgt. Mike Garyantes went over laws, past shooting incidents, the importance of situational awareness and tactics for responding to an active shooter.

The response focused on three actions — run, hide and fight.

“If the threat is on the other side of the building, are you going to wait for it to get here?” Garyantes asked. “No.” He told the staff if they have the ability to get students out of the school through a door or classroom window, that should be their response.

If they are unable to get out safely, hiding may be the best option and should be done out of the shooter’s line of sight in areas that provide some protection.

“Hiding incorporates barricades,” Garyantes said, by piling up furniture and other items in front of doorways to keep the shooter from coming in.

If face-to-face with the shooter and running or hiding is no longer plausible, putting up a fight becomes the next option.

“It’s time to throw down,” Garyantes said. “That’s what you’ve got left.”

The staff was able to put what they had learned during the presentation into practice with response scenarios led by KSP Det. James Martin and Master Troopers Eric Hines and Dewan Kelly. By the end of the day, participating staff members were tired, but found the hands-on training useful.

“I don’t think you can ever quite be prepared for a scenario like this,” but the goal is to make sure the staff is doing what they can to ensure student safety, said eighth-grade teacher Josh Thomas. “I think this is a wonderful (professional development) to get us mentally prepared in the event anything like this were to happen.”

The active shooter training at Bardstown is part of a larger effort to improve school safety that the district has been working on with the help of Nelson County Sheriff Deputy Brian Voils. In addition to KSP’s active shooter training, staff has undergone Stop the Bleed training and a new sign system called Fast Path was recently completed to provide clearer navigation for first-responders entering school buildings.