REDDING, Calif. - Shasta County schools are taking extra steps to make sure their students are safe both in school and on their way to and from. The Shasta Union High School District is the first in the state to participate in this training.
Drivers participated in an active shooter drill which involved school busses and their drivers.
The exercise was to prepare drivers for what to do in case an attacker went after a school bus full of children headed to and from school.
"It was very much worth it," says Tom Carroll Shasta Union School District Director of Transportation. "It was well worth the time we put into it."
The training was pretty violent at times and involved actively tackling the would be ‘attackers' to the ground in the isle of a school bus. It was something which took a few participants some time to open up to.
"It really helped all of us," says bus driver Sandi Anderson. "I think all of us took something away from this class."
Officials say that even if the bus drivers never have to use the training it is good training to have just to keep it in their back pocket.
It is also an additional safety net since there is no way for police to reasonably cover every single second that a school bus contains children. The schools have taken the extra step of staffing officers at schools and now the bus drivers have the training to help keep students safe en route to and from school.
And the training isn't exclusive to school buses. It can be applied to every day life as well.
"I mean this could be in everyday life," says Anderson. "If someone held a gun in your face [now you know] how to take it way from them maybe."
This kind of training is beneficial if only to keep level heads in an emergency which can save lives.
"I think [the bus drivers are] all better for it," says Carroll. "They feel more confident and more secure."
The bus drivers we spoke to all said they appreciate the training and think that more school districts should participate.
"Hopefully this sets precedents for other districts that will hopefully do the same training," says bus driver Troy Blank. "But I think everybody should be going through this training."
Officials at the Shasta Union High School District were so happy with the training they are planning another course for 2015. They hope to use that as a refresher course for current employees and a training course for new hires.