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Changes, new tech greet students on first day of school

WILLCOX — The first day of school last Wednesday had students bustling, parents fussing and educators readying for the semester ahead.

The Willcox School Board met Tuesday afternoon and discussed the upcoming school year. Willcox Superintendent Kevin Davis reported to the board and those in attendance that the school will have more technological tools as well as security options.

“We will have 180 new Chrome Books this year, six new smart TVs and new back gates, which should be operational in a couple of days,” said Davis.

The Willcox School District has also purchased a van and a bus, both of which are on campus, and the district was awarded two new buses through a VW bus settlement grant. According to Davis, the buses will be arriving in Willcox soon.

Aside from new vehicles, there have also been some changes to the Willcox school lunch schedule.

“The lunch times are pretty much the same for all campuses. The high school has combined their lunch periods to one instead of two due to increased seat time requirements for students imposed by the state. Students there have 35 minutes to eat, which is identical to last year, plus five additional minutes to get to class,” Davis said.

“The first day was a lot harder for me than my daughter. She’s been ready since she toured the school in May. I hope this year is an easy transition for her from preschool,” said parent Amanda Berger. “The teachers all seem great, and I think my kids are going to love this upcoming year.”

Educators receive active shooter training

WILLCOX — Understanding anti-shooter tactics, Willcox school staff were taught the countermeasures of the ALICE — alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate — program.

Monday, Willcox Director of Public Security Dale Hadfield and lead ALICE instructor Willcox Police officer David Reeno met at Willcox High School to go over active shooter countermeasures.

During the training, an individual representing a shooter entered the school with an air rifle and the trainees were instructed in civilian countermeasures.

School staff were taught how to lock doors using unorthodox items such as fire hoses and desks. Not only this, but the school staff were also instructed on countermeasures that shift the roles of the shooter and the would-be victims from aggressive to semi-submissive.

“It’s kind of the exact opposite of what we were taught as children. Rather than locking down the classroom, being quiet and sitting in the corner, it teaches (school staff) to be a little bit more proactive,” Hadfield said. “They got to see exactly what will happen when somebody walks in and (the shooter is) confronted by a mob of people throwing things at them. I think it was pretty eye-opening because the role player that came in, the first thing he did was drop the gun to the ground and pitch back before trying to come back on target while people continued to throw things at him.”