Surviving a school shooting

10:03 PM, Dec 13, 2013   |    comments
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The classroom was once a sanctuary, a place for kids to learn and thrive in a safe environment.

That was then and this is now.

Remember Columbine, April 1999; the school campus changed forever. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris went on a murderous, calculating and well-planned killing spree.

Watch: What should kids do if confronted by a school shooter?  (Part 2)

Thirteen students died. The killers then took their own life. Police didn't enter the school until three hours after the shooting began.

Virginia Tech, 2007: 33 students killed by a mentally disturbed student armed with two guns.

Police didn't enter that campus until more than two hours later.

But before Virginia Tech and before Columbine, the Bay area would experience its own tragedy on February 1988 when violence struck at Pinellas Park High School.

Dr. Nancy Blackwelder was there when the shooting happened. She says, "They were bragging they had guns. We didn't have kids bringing guns to school."

But that all changed in an instant. Dr. Blackwelder, along with Mr. Bailey and Mr. Allen, approached Jason McCoy in a cafeteria full of students. Blackwelder says, "He stood up and pulled out a .38 and pointed it directly at Mr. Bailey."

A struggle for the gun ensued. Mr. Bailey got the gun and walked away. McCoy was in custody. But then another student, Jason Harless approached with a gun.  When Harless was finished, he then turned the gun on Nancy.

"As he looked me dead in the eye, he pointed at me. I said, 'If you don't move, you're dead meat.'"

A single .38 ripped through Nancy's arm, entered her stomach and lodged in her leg.

Richard Allen died, Nancy survived. "The one good thing as a society is when a bad thing happens, we evaluate it and try to figure out how to make it not happen again."

Which brings us to the question: What if the teachers weren't there? What if students were on their own? Can they or will they fight back against an armed subject?

Dr. Laronga explains they teach security people what to do, but never the students. So we put some local kids to the test. What would they do in this situation today? How could your kids survive something so horrible?

Our local expect says students need to fight back and not be sitting ducks. In Part 2 of our story, he explains what kids should do.

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