PORT ORCHARD — As a result of recent community and staff survey responses, South Kitsap School District administrators contracted with a crisis training expert to conduct “crisis reality” training for students, staff and families in the district over the past several months.
Crisis training expert Jesus Villahermosa will be the featured speaker at a presentation for South Kitsap High School parents on Monday, Oct. 15. The parent meeting will be the final phase in the training rollout at South Kitsap High and will follow student assemblies earlier that day, according to district spokeswoman Amy Miller.
The first phase involved a training overview for the district’s board of directors. Building administrators and other leadership team members received training in June. Middle-school parent and student presentations will be scheduled for the spring.
The district said Villahermosa, a retired Pierce County Sheriff’s Office SWAT member, has led crisis reality training seminars for about 5,700 middle and high school students in South Kitsap during the past several months. Miller said Villahermosa teaches up-to-date strategies for those involved in a shooting situation to use — such as running, barricading doors and fighting back — if an active shooter were to come to a school.
South Kitsap Superintendent Karst Brandsma said the safety expert’s presentations are part of a series of district-wide improvements and response to a safety evaluation by Safe Havens International, a nonprofit campus safety organization. That work includes additional staffing to support safety and security, installation of security cameras, automatic door locks and other measures.
“While we don’t want our schools to feel like prisons, we want to empower our students and staff to have current information and options when it comes to reacting and surviving a crisis,” Brandsma said.