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CA – GUN CRIME – Saugus High choir teacher receives hero’s award for response to campus shooting

Unlike a generation of educators before her, Saugus High School choir teacher Kaitlin Holt has received active shooter training sessions since the beginning of her career. The drills, videos and hands-on instruction she received on classroom lockdown and defense tactics often made her play out horrific scenarios in her mind’s eye. But she never expected to actually apply any of the lessons. Yet those anxious imaginings, she said, gave rise to swift action on the morning of Nov. 14 when she barricaded her classroom and treated a student with gunshot wounds in the minutes after a 16-second campus shooting. Authorities said a 16-year-old boy fatally shot two fellow Saugus students and wounded three others before turning the gun on himself that day. On the morning at Saugus High School that sent a community into shock and mourning, Holt said gunshots in the nearby campus quad were drowned out in her choir room by the playback of a jazz choir recording. When students hurried in to say they had heard gunshots in the quad, that’s “when ‘fight or flight’ immediately kicked in,” she said. She barricaded the doors with a piano and rounded up her students into the classroom office. A student told Holt she thought she had been shot, so she left the office to procure a gunshot wound kit and proceeded to wrap the student’s wounded hip with gauze. The student, a freshman, soon realized she had also been shot in the shoulder, so Holt fashioned a makeshift bandage with a sanitary napkin and applied pressure. Another student, meanwhile, stood guard at the door with a fire extinguisher for about 20 minutes before first responders arrived. Holt credits the practical aspects of her active-shooter know-how — from barricading her classroom to arming herself with a flashlight — and instructions delivered secondhand by supervising teachers who received the American Tactical Defense program at Los Alamitos High School.  [full article]

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