By Andy Ross
Killeen Daily Herald
As soon as the Killeen Independent School District got word on Nov. 5, 2009, that a shooter had opened fire at Fort Hood, all nine of the school district's on-post campuses immediately went into lockdown mode.
One off-post school, Shoemaker High, also went into tight lockdown shortly after the 1:30 p.m. shooting began and did not release students until much later in the day, according to reports from KISD.
In the wake of the shooting, KISD made an after action review on its handling of those lockdown procedures, as well as the other actions taken by individual campuses and district employees.
Now, one year later, reflecting back on the review and other lessons learned, school district officials said they are confident they made the right decisions and were adequately prepared.
"KISD was well prepared for this emergency situation due to having standing emergency operating procedures, central and campus staff trained on the procedures, and having practiced the procedures in exercises with Fort Hood and the local government agencies," said John Dye, KISD director of safety and security. "Central control of KISD operations coupled with reliable, redundant communications systems was and is critical to managing an emergency situation."
Dye said one of the clearest lessons came in regard to Shoemaker, which was placed on lockdown in large part due to its proximity to Fort Hood. Besides students being unable to leave the campus for many hours, a high percentage of the student's parents worked on Fort Hood and were unable to leave the post themselves.
Adding to the atmosphere were the sometimes frantic parents who came to pick up their children, only to be turned away until the lockdown was lifted.
"This incident highlighted that offpost schools may also be impacted by on-post events like that on Nov. 5," Dye said. "Shoemaker High School's students are primarily from military families and many students are bused from and to Fort Hood military housing each day.
"With gates to Fort Hood closed to incoming traffic, many Shoemaker students could not be bused home and had to remain at the campus; therefore the Shoemaker staff also remained at campus to ensure safety of the students." Dye said staff members waited with students at Shoemaker and the on-post campuses as long as necessary, some until about 11 p.m.
Contact Andy Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.