See High School Use Sound of Gunfire to Prepare Students for Active Shooters

A high school in Anchorage, Alaska is using the sound of real gunfire to prepare its students for an active shooter on campus.

The school allowed a news crew from CNN to film one of the drills, where the school resource officer walks the hallway firing blanks. The shots echo throughout the hallways in a distressing simulation of events like the recent Parkland, Florida school shooting.

The video shows students snapping into action at the sound of shots fired. They barricade their classroom doors with desks and tables, and they can be heard discussing where the best place to hide in the room is. It's unclear whether the students are following a pre-determined protocol or being asked to respond on the spot. One boy can be seen huddled on top of a cabinet, jumping at the sudden booming sound and retreating into his hoodie.

The assistant principal, Josh Green, explained to reporters that the idea is to get students accustomed to the sounds of gunfire.

"So many times, you read about these active shooter situations. They hear a gun going off like that, and they think it's something different. You're porgramed to think 'I'm safe' all the time. When you hear something like that, you've got to know, 'hey I've got to take some action.'"

Administrators also said that the drills helped them to determine which parts of the school needed to be locked down or better defended.

"We don't want to scare them. We want this to become as close to reality as possible," Principal Sam Spinella said.

The story drew some horrified responses on Twitter, where users thought the school's staff was putting the students through a potentially traumatic exercise.

"Imagine having a gun problem so bad you need to train KIDS to understand the sound of gunfire and barricade themselves into classrooms," marvelled one respondent.

"The problem is wildly exaggerated," contested another. "This is terrifying kids for political grandstanding. Take your kids out of government schools."

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"Teaching PTSD in school. SMH," noted another person.