After Florida shooting, Berks schools to review safety plans

'It's paramount importance for school districts'

Berks police, schools react to Florida school shooting

READING, Pa. - In the wake of Wednesday's deadly mass shooting at a high school in south Florida, police officers in Berks County participated in a scheduled class regarding active shooter training.

Exeter Township police Sgt. Sean Fullerton said Thursday's training at Alvernia University in Reading involved discussion of ideas and philosophies of how to handle the situations, even before they begin.

"You might be able to recognize some signs early," said Fullerton. "It starts with the initial grievance and maybe somebody starts to verbalize some of their issues. Maybe they start to post about it on social media. There are signs, in many cases, that might be able to be recognized and if you have some of those outward signs, maybe you should contact somebody."

In Berks County schools, active shooter emergency plans are already been in place, thanks in part to the Berks County Intermediate Unit.

"Most school districts, if not all school districts, in Berks have active-shooter training, probably at least twice a year," said Carl Blessing, the BCIU's assistant executive director. "We now have an all-hazards plan for school districts, where they basically all have a all-hazards plan emergency guide at their districts to cover these kind of emergencies."

Blessing said schools have a meeting scheduled for late March about the plans. He said at that meeting, they'll discuss beefing up what's currently in place.

"It's of the utmost importance to keep kids and staff safe," Blessing said. "It's paramount importance for school districts, we know that, and it's something they take very, very seriously."

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