Keystone Heights High School active school shooting exercise

Multiple Clay County agencies training to stop tragedy

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – There have been almost 400 school shootings since 1992. Some get national attention, some don't, but they are all devastating.

Dale Regan, head of school at Episcopal School of Jacksonville, lost her life in 2012 when a former teacher shot her to death, he then turned the gun on himself.

There was also the school shooting in 1997 when a 14-year-old Ribault high school student was shot to death.

In 1993, at Terry Parker High School, another 14-year-old student was gunned down while waiting outside school for his dad to pick him up.

Clay County agencies put themselves through a realistic scenario at Keystone Heights High School Friday, to be better able to respond if it happens again.

"This will let us evaluate how our patrol function works with SWAT with other entities," Colonel Craig Aldrich of the Clay County Sheriff's Office said.

The superintendent of Clay County Schools says one thing in an emergency that may be affected is the ability to pick up the phone and call. He's urging parents to go online or use a smartphone to stay in the loop if there is a problem on campus.

"Facebook, Twitter, download the app. We will update that in real time. We have a very robust communications package. We can even update before the school bell rings for the first time," Charlie Van Zant, superintendent of Clay County said.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office worked with multiple agencies to make the scenario seem as realistic as possible.

"By partnering together it allows up to prepare and identify any weaknesses and gaps and work accordingly to improve those throughout our planning efforts," John Ward from Emergency Management said.

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