Some parents call Cary Grove starter pistol drill `too real`

Some parents call Cary Grove starter pistol drill `too real`

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some Cary-Grove parents and students said a drill simulating a gunman terrorizing the school crossed the line Wednesday. They said it was "too real," since blanks were fired from actual guns.

Cary-Grove High School students heard the two shots fired with starter pistols at 9 a.m. Wednesday. For some parents, the sound effects were considered controversial – for some, unnecessary. Authorities said the simulation was educational.

SEE: Cary-Grove High School`s `code red` drill involves firing blanks

Seven police officers participated in the drill, conducted inside the building. Police said an announcement was made to students, telling them what to listen for and how to proceed.

Two deans then fired the starter pistols in common areas located at two different ends of the building. The students heard authorities call a code red. Police officers walked the hallways and checked the classrooms.

Police said the tragedy of the Sandy Hook shootings makes a drill like this necessary.

"Well, the reality is that there [aren't] many students who have heard a gunshot before. So yes, this adds a bit of reality to the drill," Cary Police Chief Steve Casstevens said. "I suppose it's sad that we've come to this point in our society that we have to do this. But the actual reality is we can't stick our head in the sand and pretend like events like this doesn't occur - because they do occur - so it's our job to prepare for it."

Around 1900 hundred students attend Cary-Grove High School. Some said they didn't hear the actual shots fired, but they would have been mature enough to handle it.

"We're all over 14, it's not a big deal," they said. "It's a gun you hear at track meets."

The superintendent said the same drill was conducted with staff only, long before the Sandy Hook tragedy. For the drill conducted Wednesday, they decided to incorporate the students as well.

"It's more about having them understand the different sounds and things of that nature," Cary Supt. Dr. Johnnie Thomas said, "so that in the event of a crisis they're able to react in an efficient and responsible manner, keeping themselves safe and also helping to keep the staff and situation safe."

Last year, Crystal Lake High School conducted a similar drill with the firing of blanks.

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