Bellevue schools take part in anti-terror training

BELLEVUE Columbine, Virginia Tech and now Cleveland. As school shootings become more common, l
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Columbine, Virginia Tech and now Cleveland.  As school shootings become more common, local school administrators are forced to train for worst-case scenarios in their own backyards.

Tuesday it was Bellevue's turn.

The city's high school was closed to students as about 200 local teachers and emergency responders used it to practice what to do in a school shooting situation.

At 9 a.m. an angry Bellevue mother pretended to shoot and kill principal Francis Scruci for suspending her son from school.

"Permanent expulsion today buddy," she said before firing two blank rounds.

The mother also "shot" a teacher and student before taking several hostages in a classroom. She set off a simulated chlorine bomb, filling the hall with smoke that blinded Bellevue police. Armed with assault rifles and wearing gas masks, police secured the area outside the classroom.

During the simulated chaos, the high school went into "lock down" mode. Teachers herded student actors into classrooms, locking doors behind them.

Sandusky County's SWAT team then moved in and shot the mother with rubber bullets.

Shortly thereafter, the woman's fictitious husband shot two Bellevue students elsewhere in the school.

A teacher, trying to aid a "wounded" student in the hallway, unlocked his classroom door. He was shot and his students taken hostage.

Officers later set off a "flash-bang" grenade to distract and shoot the man.

A total of 37 victims were transported to hospitals with four teachers and three students "shot."

During a review session after the exercise, Scruci said the teacher shouldn't have opened the door.

"It sounds harsh, but at that point (a student) would have to high tail it out of the building or find a place to hide," he said. "You can't sacrifice the majority of students for one or two."

Communication was a problem with departments occasionally drowned each other out on one radio frequency.

FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Agent Anthony Brizzolara was an evaluator in the exercise that took more than an hour.

"I thought it went very well," he said. "The parents of all the students who go to this school should be very pleased with the efforts their school is taking to protect their children."