ST. CLOUD -- After last week’s prank phone call at Apollo School, officials are reviewing safety procedures.

LAST WEEK’S “SWATTING” CALL

Last Wednesday, a phone call was received about an active threat at Apollo High School. The caller claimed a shooting was in progress. Apollo High School Principal Justin Skaalerud says the threat was assessed quickly because the school resource officer happened to be standing where the caller said the shooting was happening.

Our school resource officer was exactly where he needed to be, and was able to assess immediately that the threat was not valid. And if it would have been valid, I know that the resources and backup were minutes away. But he made the decision, and 100% right, that the information we got was not true.

Apollo High School was one of several “swatting” calls received Wednesday across Minnesota. Authorities believe all the calls were made by the same individual, but no arrests have been made.

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PREPARING FOR THE WORST

Superintendent of St. Cloud Area Public Schools, Dr. Laurie Putnam, says all students and staff have already received instructions on what to do in case of an emergency.

So if there were to be an active threat, there, we train our students and our staff to respond one of three ways. First to run - to get out if they can. To hide or barricade - to keep themselves in a safe space. The last option would be to distract or defend.

Putnam says if an active threat happens at any of the schools, parents will be notified by phone or text as soon as possible. However, she asks parents to stay away from the area for the safety of the students.

We could have people fleeing, so we certainly don't want lots of cars and people rushing into a scene where we have students or staff trying to get to a safe location. That will only make the situation more dangerous. So we would at that point be asking our families, and definitely our community, (to) stay away.

Students and staff have been told where their evacuation points are.

MORE TRAINING

Skaalerud says part of the teacher’s training day Monday will be spent in a real-world discussion of active threats.

(Monday) afternoon, we're going to spend some time going through situations and putting ourselves, mindset wise, how we would react to certain things with all of our teachers and all of our licensed staff. We have an opportunity just to talk through - what those would look like?  Making sure that we are thinking about that, not wanting to ever have to use, but having those conversations.

Skaalerud and Putnam both suggest that parents with questions about the security of their children in school should contact their teachers or administration.

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