Lake Mary company wants to prepare local day cares for worst-case scenarios

Police officers and defense experts train staff using active shooter drills

By Erik von Ancken - Anchor/Reporter

LAKE MARY, Fla. - Close to a dozen schools have been put on lockdown in the last month, and while schools are required to drill and plan for threats of violence that's not always the case for day cares.

[WEB EXTRA: Day care safety]

That is changing, and those changes could affect how you choose which day care is best.

Infants and toddlers; they're the little people who need big people, for just about everything.

They can't fend for themselves, and they certainly cannot defend themselves especially if a gunman were to storm into their day care.

But in a simulated scenario, instructors with Defensive Tactics Solutions are training daycare workers to defend themselves and the children they watch over.

They are showing day care workers what it would be like, if a gunman targeted their day care and ultimately, what do to do about it.

Some of the people who attended the drill were there on their own. Some were sent there by their boss.

Marsha Taylor, who owns Kid City USA in Lake Mary, brought her entire staff.  

"I really think every teacher needs some kind of this training, you just have to know what to do," said Taylor.

Keep in mind, schools deal with shootings differently, because of the age of the children. Kids in school can listen and understand. They can line up and run.

Babies are helpless.

"We take care of 200 children. We are responsible for 200 babies that belong to parents. And those parents are entrusting the children in our care. So it's our responsibility to do whatever we can to protect them when they're with us," said Jennifer Matthews, a director at Ladybird Academy.

"It's a bond we have with the children. They're with us the majority of the day time when they're awake," said Cachea Torres, who also works in a day care.

If nothing else, this drill was a wake-up call to the new reality that any place with children could be a target.

"Those kids need to know that you're going to protect them. They need to know if a bad guy comes in to the school they need to know Ms. Marsha will protect them," said Taylor.

The instructors with Defensive Tactics Solutions believe that more and more parents will start to look for day cares with workers who have been trained in defensive tactics, that's why everybody at the end of the class gets one of these, so they can stick it in their day care window.

After the class, Taylor told Local 6's Erik Von Ancken that Kid City USA will start doing active-shooter drills every month just like they do fire drills.

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