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      Aspen Ridge locks down for shooter training

      Active Shooter Training prepared teachers for emergencies at Aspen Ridge School in Ishpeming Township Friday. School was canceled for a teacher development day, and staff members acted out scenarios as if it were a real-life school shooting.

      It starts with a shotgun blank shot by a Michigan State Trooper, and the staff goes into lockdown. The gunfire inside the school helps teachers know what it may sound like during a shooting.

      Another trooper armed with a fake gun entered each classroom full of teachers. The Active Shooter Training allowed the staff at Aspen Ridge School to practice how to protect themselves and their students if a shooter entered the school.

      "It gets your blood pressure going a little bit. It gets you thinking about 'Oh my gosh...this could happen. What are we going to do?" said Kurt Corcoran, seventh grade Science teacher.

      Tension was running high during the training. Officials say feeling the emotions of a real shooting is all part of the exercise.

      "It was very stressful...very stressful. While on one hand I knew I was safe when this was happening, on the other hand, just knowing that there are people who have gone through this kind of thing and haven't been safe...I think that just triggered me emotionally," said Jill Zueger, School Counselor.

      Marquette County's Emergency Management Program Coordinator Teresa Schwalbach started the morning with a lecture, talking about the history of school violence, as well as what to do first in an emergency or if taken hostage. Ishpeming Township Police, Michigan State Police, and the Marquette County Sherrif's Department also offered advice and supplies during the lecture, including the Go Bags. Each classroom has a Go Bag with supplies that may be needed in the event of an evacuation.

      "I think all of our teachers were very glad to have that information. It's going to make the whole environment a lot safer," said Andrea Korpi, District School Nurse.

      T he Active Shooter Training was scheduled long before the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, but since then, the gravity of the situation has changed.

      "As a parent and a teacher, I'm glad that we got the training. I think collectively that we just need to keep doing this, to keep training, and to keep allocating resources to make our schools safer," said Nathan Longton, Middle School Special Education teacher.

      One thought was on everyone's mind: hopefully, the teachers at Aspen Ridge will never have to use this training in a real emergency, but the staff feels more prepared if it is necessary to do so.