Lockdown drill will be unlike anything Sheridan has seen before


Students who find themselves in SCAET Wing Monday morning will be in for an unusual start to their week. Campus security, in conjunction with Halton Regional Police, will be conducting a lockdown drill unlike anything Sheridan College has seen before.

The drill, which will be only in the SCAET building, will begin at 9 a.m. and last 20 to 30 minutes. It will involve about six police officers and 30 students as actors in a mock school-shooting scenario, complete with fake guns, police officers playing villains and student volunteers acting as victims in full costume and makeup.

“[This drill] is to make sure that people are aware of what to do, to test our system, to make our systems better and to find out if there is anything wrong with those systems. It is also to help us work better with police and to help police train better,” said director of campus security Michael Burjaw. “Let’s make sure all our systems work as expected, let’s make sure if something does happen, we are prepared,”

Many of the actors will be Sheridan students from the Theatre and Drama Studies program, while Special Effects Makeup Design students will be responsible for costumes and makeup for the actors. Police Foundation students will also play a large role in the exercise and in preparation for the event, while Halton Police observers will also be on site to oversee the dramatization.

“When these incidents first happened at places like Columbine, the police didn’t go in. That’s part of what this practice is. That’s not the strategy they want use, to just let the shooter shoot, they want to get in there and take the shooter down,” said Burjaw.

Students are being asked to take the drill very seriously and listen to their instructors for directions, as well as follow police instructions at all times. All students should be out of the hallways and common areas and in full lockdown mode throughout SCAET Wing following the order over the college’s emergency broadcast system.

Simulated gunfire will be heard during the exercise and loudspeakers will be positioned at the front of the school broadcasting instructions during the drill. Local businesses, residences and area media outlets have been warned of the exercise in advance to prevent any undue confusion or panic on the part of bystanders and passersby.

“If you’re here, we expect that you just go into lockdown… Students who are left in the hallway will be challenged by police,” said Burjaw. “We do not encourage students to challenge them.”

Security officials are assuring students and staff that safety during the drill is of the utmost importance. Students and staff partaking in the drill will be searched for anything that might be confused as a real weapon during the exercise, but students simply attending classes will not be searched.

According to campus officials, the entire drill and police training exercise will be recorded on video by the Sheridan Production House and, because of heavy student involvement, the video may be used in the future for promotional purposes.

While classes will be going on as scheduled, those who do not wish to partake in the drill or be locked down for the duration of the exercise are being asked to find a spot in other wings of the college until the drill is complete.

There will be a debriefing session following the drill with security and police at 9:45 a.m. in S235 for everyone.

Students wishing to volunteer for the exercise are encouraged to contact campus security for further information. Visit thesheridansun.ca for live coverage of the drill and police training exercise.


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