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Ascension Schools practice active shooter drills

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GONZALES - The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office teamed up with Ascension Schools to initiate three surprise active shooter drills.

The drills simulated an intruder on campus and tested the readiness of teachers, students and staff.

During the drill, sheriff's deputies walked the halls to ensure every door was locked and students were out of sight.

"It's just an automatic response, as soon as they say lock down, you've got to be quick, there should be no hesitation, the good thing is, this isn't the first time we've practiced it, we continue over and over so if the real thing does happen they're ready to roll," said Shane Mason, an English teacher at Prairieville Middle.

The deputies and school administrators look for weaknesses in the protocols to pinpoint what needs to be fixed.

"People can go through drills and they're robotic, but this really put everyone in a position where they know they're not only going through a drill but there are evaluators that are evaluating the safety of the students and the teachers and the staff and identifying areas where we can improve," said Chief Deputy Tony Bacala, with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office.

All three schools were able to complete the drill in a matter of only a few minutes, but most classes took just seconds to get into safe mode.

The sheriff's office plans to continue their work testing schools' readiness throughout the school year.

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