St. Charles Parish Students Help Police During Training Drill

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Students in St. Charles Parish took part in a training drill involving police and SWAT team members.

The scenario involved gunmen taking over R. K. Smith Elementary School.

WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter shows us how the mock drill gave students and teachers a real life lesson.

Swat, police, and a host of emergency vehicles surrounded R.K. Smith Middle School in Luling.

At least four gunmen had rushed in and wreaked havoc during an all out mock take over.

“It was scary at first because I didn’t really like, I was kind of scared it was so realistic,” said student volunteer Taylor Gauthreaux.

The mock drill in St. Charles Parish involved law enforcement from several other parishes, hundreds of teachers, and student volunteers.

The training exercise was intended to prepare all parties to help save lives in the event of a real life situation

like the mass shootings in Columbine.

“They practice this, we practice it,” St. Charles Sheriff Gary Champagne explained. “Today is the day when everyone puts all their skills together and we all do it in once large realistic drill just to really hone and sharpen everyone’s training and skills.”

“It was guns going off, people screaming, people banging on doors, bombs, everything,” Gauthreaux recounted.

Organizers wanted it to feel real.

“Most people don’t realize the chaos that comes when you got fire alarms being pulled, there smoke in hall ways, you know people are screaming,” Champagne said.

“I think it’s helpful because it gives us like a better idea of what we need to do and where we need to go if something like that ever happened,” student volunteer Catherine Friloux said.

At the conclusion of the drill, students, teachers, and parents went home enlightened.

Members of law enforcement are now better prepared.

“We hope we never have to face it but if we do we feel we just have a little bit more of an advantage without doing this,” Champagne said.

Law enforcement agencies gathered after the training drill to evaluate the results.