There were no students in the halls or classrooms at University High School for the second half of the day on Thursday, just like every other high school in Monongalia County. That's because FBI agents came in to help teachers know what to listen for if something happens.
The Operation Safe Schools Initiative brought several different enforcement agencies into Monongalia County Schools Thursday. Agencies included state police, sheriff's deputies, and MECCA 911.
Faculty was able to hear firings of blank ammunitions rounds consistent with discharges of five different guns including a 22 caliber handgun. Each gun has been used in active shooter events that have happened in the United States.
"This is an important thing for them to go through for all of the active shooters that have been happening in schools across the nation," said Sgt. James Branham of the West Virginia State Police. "It kind of gives them an idea of what it would sound like if there was an active shooter in the school."
Teachers were brought into a classroom and shots were fired from different distances, starting at the front office.
The agent who started the program was not able to have his name released because he works undercover for the department.
He tested the teachers on their knowledge of the gunshot sounds.
A loud bang came from the hallway as teachers stood in an art room located near the back entrance of University High School.
The agent who started the program asked the group of teachers, "What was that sound?"
Multiple teachers answered that the sound was, "a .22 gage."
The agent replied, "Anyone think it's anything other than a .22 gage...? It's a text book."
The teachers were amazed at how similar they sounded.
The Monongalia County schools procedure for a Code Red, or active shooter, is to lock down. The FBI agents simply gave faculty more choices if an unfortunate event occurs and they need to act.
Teachers were also able to ask questions after the demonstrations if they had any concerns.