Cedar Falls students practice dangerous intruder drill - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls students practice dangerous intruder drill

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"This is a drill. I repeat this is a drill," students at Cedar Heights Elementary head over the school's intercom system Tuesday. "We have a dangerous intruder in the gym. We have a dangerous intruder in the gym."

Students then quickly followed their teachers outside the building.

School districts across eastern Iowa have practiced what they would do in a dangerous intruder situation, but only with faculty and staff. On Tuesday, Cedar Falls schools took it a step further and involved the students.

Jon Wiebers said that, in his 17 years as a principal -- seven of those at Cedar Heights Elementary -- a dangerous intruder drill was something he never thought they would ever have to go through.

"My original thought was, 'We shouldn't be doing this because of what it does to kids,'" he said. "Now, making sure kids are prepared is the best step for that."

When an intruder comes into the school, the drill suggests students run, hide or fight.

After a year's worth of planning, for the first time the Cedar Falls School District decided to have students practice the run part of that drill.

"A good thing to remember is, it's very similar to a tornado and fire drill while practicing those," said Wiebers. "The likelihood of those happening to us are slim -- as we hope, this is very slim and maybe nonexistent -- (but) having our kids know what to do is really important."

Before Tuesday's drill, teachers spoke with their students about what to do in these types of situations.

On Thursday, they plan to go through the "hide" part of the intruder drill.

Wiebers says they will not go though the "fight" part only because of the age of the students.

Cedar Falls Police were also involved with the planning process, and on Tuesday they were at the school to see how the students would do.

They say they are not surprised Cedar Falls decided to practice this type of drill.

"It's surprising to see, but knowing what's going on in our nation over the last several years, it's not surprising at all," said Capt. Creig Berte with the Cedar Falls Police Department. "So it's good to be practicing and be training and reacting to what's going on."

All schools in the Cedar Falls district are going through these drills; six elementaries, two junior high schools and the one high school.

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