Rio Rancho Public Schools is offering parent safety training in active-threat and active-shooter situations from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday at the RRPS Training Center, Board Room 2, 500 Laser Road.

“Active-threat and active-shooter training is important for all individuals to have, but it’s especially important for parents. When a parent goes to a store, a movie theater, an event, they aren’t just responsible for their own safety, but also for the safety of their child or children,” said RRPS Communications Manager Melissa Perez.

This training is a part of the RRPS Parent University, also known as Parent U. It is free for parents, regardless of whether their child is enrolled in Rio Rancho schools.

In addition, Parent U offers free child care for toddlers and elementary-age children to ensure parents are able to attend, Perez said.

During the training, an informal panel of experts will be available for questions and to assist with the teaching.

This panel includes:

• Two representatives from the RRPS Safety & Security Department.

• Lt. John Castañeda, Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office.

• One representative from Rio Rancho Police Department.

Castañeda believes this training is important for the public to know so they can take the appropriate action in an active threat/shooter situation.

“The more we educate, possibly the safer things can be,” he said.

Castañeda has conducted active-shooter trainings with law enforcement and public schools, but never with the public. Having this knowledge more accessible creates a connected community to secure each other’s safety, he said.

For active-shooter drills, RRPS practices the ALICE Training Institute method to “alert, lock down, inform, counter and evacuate.” Parents can also use this method in any active-threat and -shooter situation.

“For parents, learning how to properly respond to an active-shooter situation empowers them to choose the best survival option for themselves and their families,” Perez said.

ALICE Training focuses parents on how to be aware of their surroundings, ways to react when a threat is identified and how to report a threat, she said.

“The safety and security of students at Rio Rancho Public Schools is a top priority for us,” said RRPS Executive Director of Safety & Security Salvatore Maniaci.

Although an active-shooter attack is rare, it is still a possibility.

“If we can teach parents how to react, how to prepare and what best practices are in an active-threat situation, then we also further protect our students,” Maniaci said.

Parent U will offer more classes during the school year, including E-Cigarettes and Drug Recognition, Be SMART Gun Safety, Teen Driving & Law Enforcement, Suicide Prevention, Bullying Prevention, Cyber Safety and College 101.