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Boardman Schools and Police plan for "mock" school shooter drill on Wednesday

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BOARDMAN, Ohio - On Wednesday, the Boardman School District in conjunction with police and fire, the FBI and the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department, will take their school crisis training to an entirely new level.

It's all in an effort to protect the students in the case of an active shooter.

The classrooms may be empty this week with students are on spring break, but the lessons learned on Wednesday at the high school could be more critical than ever.

Police Chief Jack Nichols says township trustees have made it abundantly clear that they want the police department and fire department to do everything they can to assist in securing the schools and making children safe.

"Essentially the purpose here is to find out where we make our mistakes. As we've had in various locations throughout the country, as these events happen, it's absolute chaos. So we need to be able to manage that chaos," Nichols says.

Sometime on Wednesday morning, school administrators and police will be forced to put their emergency plan in action.

A mock school shooter drill will take place with approximately 100 student volunteers, parents and teachers.

The exact scenario of what will happen that day has been drafted by a consultant and won't be revealed until it happens.

Police, the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department and the Youngstown FBI will all converge on the school, treating the mock crisis as if it's the real thing.

Superintendent Frank Lazzeri says the district's safety team has talked about something like this for the last year.

"We've been pro-active in the Boardman Schools all along. We were one of the first suburbans districts around here to have buzz-in systems [for the doors], and a crisis plan and so forth. But we needed to go beyondf that and go to the next step," Lazzeri says.

The new supervising senior special agent in charge of the Youngstown FBI, Tracy Bradford, says she was happy to get the call to participate from Nichols.

"This is something that the FBI is looking at nationwide in terms of the active shooter; anything involving the public, the schools, churches," Bradford says. "Something that we want to be able to do is to be there and support our local law enforcement in an emergency. We will be here in support of them whether it's operationally or to investigate."

The district already conducts monthly school lockdown drills and safety drills, but administrators hope this active shooter drill will raise awareness among students and the community about the importance of knowing what to do in a school crisis situation.

"Training like this can do nothing but help," Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene says. "And being a parent within this community I can't thank the Boardman School system and Boardman Police enough for putting this on."

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