Georgia School Shooting: How prepared are school staff to confront a shooter?

6:29 PM, Aug 21, 2013   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida -- Students at an Atlanta area elementary school attended class Wednesday at a nearby high school after gunfire rang out yesterday at their school. 

Michael Brandon Hill faces multiple charges after authorities say he opened fire on campus.

RELATED: Ga. school suspect had nearly 500 rounds, police say

It was front office staffer Antoinette Tuff who talked him into surrendering.

Some say the answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, but in the case of the Georgia school incident, the answer to a 20-year-old man off his meds holding an assault rifle was a calm school clerk. 

The incident raises the question of how prepared school staff members are in the possibility of being confronted with a similar situation.

"First thing I thought of -- is my campus safe and secure," said Keith Mastorides, principal at Clearwater High School. "Bottom line -- I feel confident our staff is ready to go should something like that occur."

Pinellas County offers training through the Crisis Prevention Institute to all school staff. Mastorides' secretary Angie Tanton has taken the six-hour class on how to confront a hostile and threatening person.

"The best practice is to keep calm and assess situation," she said.

Angie said while she would try to radio for help, she's trained to engage the individual just as Tuff did and figure out why they're doing what they're doing.

While she has that person's attention Angie said the school's alert staff and students are taught to be aware and get help. 

"No matter the situation somebody has my back."

While all school districts are required to do emergency drills for fires, tornadoes and school lockdowns, training on how to confront a threatening person on campus varies.

Hillsborough's school security chief says staff goes through "all hazard training" but would not release specifics saying "more specifics means less security".

Follow 10 News Reporter Isabel Mascarenas on twitter @IzzyMascarenas

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