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After recent string of Quebec school lockdowns, are Montreal-area schools prepared?

Click to play video: 'Are Montreal schools’ active shooter drills up to par?'
Are Montreal schools’ active shooter drills up to par?
Are Montreal schools’ active shooter drills up to par?

The fear of a school in lockdown can grip parents.

Two weeks ago, a Quebec CEGEP went into lockdown after a 911 call was made about a man acting suspiciously.

There was an arrest and there were no injuries, but it happened again — at two other schools in the province.

“It gives me kind of like PTSD from what you see in the news in the United States,” said Katherine Korakakis, a parent and the president of the English Parents’ Committee. “It’s just terrifying.”

Click to play video: 'Montreal-area parents worried after string of school lockdowns in Quebec'
Montreal-area parents worried after string of school lockdowns in Quebec

Korakakis says when she watches events like these happening here at home and elsewhere, she can’t help but wonder, what if it happened at her children’s schools?

At the English Montreal School Board, there are active shooter protocols in place that have been around for a while.

Read more: Shooting outside junior college in Laval, Que. sends 4 to hospital: police

All principals receive updated seminars every year, directly from the Montreal Police.

“And then they go and have a meeting with their teachers, and they plan a lockdown exercise in their school,” said Mike Cohen, spokesperson for the English Montreal School Board. “And that’s done in every school, at least once a year, so that they’re prepared.”

At Dunrae Gardens Elementary, everyone knows how to prepare for a “code silver.”

The school’s principal says it’s a difficult subject to speak about, but one that is necessary.

“We go through these tabletop activities, where we’re given scenarios to the teachers, and we have discussions – what would you if – if you’re outside, if somebody is with a child, if a child is in a washroom,” said principal Despina Michakis.

Read more: Montreal’s next police chief wants to be ‘closer to the community’

Lockdown protocols are just as critical for the Lester B. Pearson school board (LBPSB), who say it has a universal code that applies to all of their buildings for any instance they may perceive as dangerous.

“We have engaged recently in conversations with the SPVM and the Surete du Quebec about having a second level, specifically for active shooters,” said Thomas Rhymes, LBPSB Assistant Director General. “But those conversations are ongoing.”

The incoming Montreal Police chief thinks those conversations are critical.

He wants more collaboration between schools and the force.

“We don’t train enough – we don’t do simulations enough,” said Fady Dagher. “We should do more. Because we’re going to be surprised eventually.”

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