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Columbia Falls bus drivers take part in active shooter training

Posted at 8:44 PM, Aug 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 16:20:03-04

COLUMBIA FALLS — Columbia Falls school bus drivers were educated Monday on how to handle active shooter crisis situations.

Jesus Villahermosa from Crisis Reality Training -- who has over 30 years of law enforcement and tactical training -- was present to provide information to all bus drivers.

Unfortunately, Villahermosa tells MTN News, an active shooting situation is much more real now than it was 30 years ago.

“The empirical evidence is clear, it’s not getting better. It’s being culture, it’s actually cultured into our society and it’s a problem and people need to have a plan for it,” said Villahermosa.

He's helping school bus drivers to prepare for the worst, in case an active shooting situation was to happen.

“Drivers need to be taught situational awareness so that they’re actually trying to be preventative before it occurs,” explained Villahermosa.

However, Villahermosa told MTN News there are lots of legalities involved if a school bus driver were to fight back.

“You have to talk about what laws there are that allow them to use physical force, if they’re allowed to do that, under policy.”

Kristian Jacola -- who has worked for Columbia Falls school district for 12 years -- says he feels responsible for the students on his bus.

Columbia Falls school buses carry elementary students to high school students and Jacola says because of this, he’s really gotten to know the students over the years.

“Every grade the same driver is picking up the same kids as long as it’s the same route. And so, you’re relationship with these kids aren’t for one school year they go on for their entire school experience, from kindergarten through high school,” expressed Jacola.

Villahermosa says that you should talk to your child about these scary real-life situations. But what you tell your child, he says, depends on how your child responds to trauma.

“Who is your child? Is your child a sheepdog or a sheep? All of those factors have to be taken into consideration. Is the shooter at the middle of the bus or did he start at the back of the bus? Is he at the front of the bus? Did he already shoot the driver?"

"All of those factors dictate what tools you should use? But parents certainly should be having that conversation with their kids," Villahermosa added.

The recent training will help prepare Columbia Falls school bus drivers in case of an active shooter emergency.