Technology: USA: Faced with school shootings, train police in the (false) blood of the pupils

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Des policiers participent à une simulation de fusillade dans une école d'Hialeah, en banlieue de Miami, le 3 août 2022 © Chandan Khanna of the police participate in a simulation of shooting in a school of Hialeah, in the suburbs of Miami, on 3 August 2022

of the gunshots resound in the classroom. Students, covered with blood, scream while agents try to apprehend the author of the shots. The scene takes place in a Florida school and is, fortunately, fictitious.

A hundred police officers and rescuers participated this week in this training intended to make them more effective in the event of an intrusion of a shooter in a school.

This very realistic type of exercise - with false injuries, plastic weapons and volunteer students - has existed in a marginal way in the United States for a few years but has experienced a renewed interest from the police fiasco on May 24 in a Texas school .

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Des policiers et des élèves volontaires participent à une simulation de fusillade dans une école d'Hialeah, en banlieue de Miami, le 3 août 2022 © Chandan Khanna Police and volunteer students participate in a shooting simulation in a school in Hialeah, in the suburbs of Miami, August 3, 2022

that day, a young man, armed with a semi- Automatic, killed 19 children and two teachers. The 400 agents had waited 73 minutes before entering the classroom where the killer had entrenched himself with his victims, a "chaotic" response according to local elected officials.

Des policiers et des secouristes participent à une simulation de fusillade dans une école d'Hialeah, en banlieue de Miami, le 3 août 2022 © Chandan Khanna Police and rescuers participate in a shooting simulation in a school in Hialeah, in the suburbs of Miami, August 3, 2022

in Miami, "Our rule is that the first police officer arrived on site goes in contact of the shooter, "explains Carlos Fernandez to AFP, the district school police. "Everything is done to save lives."

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Most of the US police force now have the same approach, but that has not always been the case. Until the attack on Columbine high school in 1999 (13 dead), the standard was to wait for the arrival of elite units, notes Major Fernandez.

Des policiers participent à une simulation de fusillade dans une école d'Hialeah, en banlieue de Miami, le 3 août 2022 © Chandan Khanna of the police participate in a shooting simulation in a school in Hialeah, in the suburbs of Miami, August 3, 2022

- Traumatic -

as part of the exercise in Hialeah, in the suburbs of Miami, The attacker is neutralized three minutes after the first shots - all pulled white.


Video: Police let a killer act in a school in Texas! (Dailymotion)

rushing from cars parked in the street, reinforcements enter the establishment and search the classrooms and the toilet one by one.

Once the checks are completed, the firefighters in turn enter the building to evacuate the "wounded", four students covered with false blood who pretend to have been affected.

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On this summer day, in the middle of the school holidays, around thirty teenagers volunteered to help police and firefighters train.

The rest of the year, pupils in public schools are forced, in 40 of the 50 American states, to participate in "alert-intrusion" exercises, which most often consist in barricading themselves in silence.

In a country regularly confronted with murderous shootings, these exercises are supposed to help them stay calm against the worst. Some fear, however, that they do more harm than good.

EveryTown for Gun Safety, an association that militates for more stringent regulations on firearms, studied last year the conversations on the social networks of students of 114 schools, 90 days before an exercise and 90 days later.

She concluded that the simulation had increased stress, anxiety, depressive feelings of children.

- "Make nervous" -

Confainment exercises are "already frightening" but the intrusion simulations that look like real killings "are much worse", adds the promised NGO Sandy, created by parents of children Killed in a Connecticut school in 2012.

"When the students do a fire exercise, we do not simulate a fire, because it would traumatize the participants and put school in danger. It should be the same to adorn the risk of Intrusion, "she said.

But these exercises are intended to train the police, not the students, and it is essential that they are realistic, retorts the chief of the school police from the Miami-Dade district, Edwin Lopez.

"Our goal is to make the agents as nervous as possible. And that implies cries of students, fire alarms that are triggered, smoke, noise or real shots," he explains after Exercise in Hialeah.

As for those for whom these simulations could give ideas to unstable students, he says he does not see "no risk". On the contrary, he says, it shows "anyone who thinks of harming our schools, our children, the exact level of force that we will use against them".

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