NY area school districts hold active shooter drills after recent mass shootings

In the wake of recent mass shootings, local districts are taking action to make sure they are prepared in the event of an active shooter situation at a school.

FOX 5 NY got to take a closer look at an active shooter drill at West Babylon High School, which aims to help the Suffolk County Police Department prepare in the event of an emergency.

"It’s the speed to which you can get that help there and eliminate the threat," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. 

Drills and safety initiatives are aimed at ensuring students and staff stay safe inside schools.

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The West Babylon School District is one of 52 in Suffolk to sign on with the RAVE panic button mobile app. With the touch of a button, law enforcement can be notified of an active shooter situation or an emergency.

The district was also the first to implement the SHARE program - short for Sharing to Help Access Remote Entry.

"Officials at police headquarters can access the cameras and in turn relay the information or the video directly to the responding officers," Bellone said. 

Inside buildings, they’re adding additional swipe to enter access doors as well as classroom doors that automatically lock.

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"It’s about reminding people, even if it’s warm we don’t prop doors open, and reflecting on what else we can do and what other places are doing that we can learn from," said superintendent Dr. Yiendhy Farrelly with the West Babylon School District. 

Districts are also honing in on mental health services and providing support to students and their families.

Officials say since the shooting in Texas, there have been 16 reported threats against schools in Suffolk.

"The students themselves are doing this on social media with real no intent to commit a crime," said acting chief of detectives John Rowan with the Suffolk County Police Department. 

Suffolk police plan to hold drills and exercises monthly not just at schools but also at places of worship and any locations that could be considered vulnerable.

"I want to make sure we’re in the best position tactically to respond at a moment's notice," said Suffolk police commissioner Rodney Harrison. 

As for Nassau County - all public schools are enrolled in the RAVE app. Both police departments send a message to any student thinking about threatening violence - they want everyone to know all actions have consequences and each case will be prosecuted.