Solutions for Better School Security and Response to a Shooting

In the aftermath of such tragedies as the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut or those at a Santa Monica high school, what is the best response to protect our children going forward? And the tragedies do not stop at the elementary and high school level of education. The shootings on the Virginia Tech campus bring to mind the same problems also occurring on college campuses around our country. What is the right response to such crises?

Protecting Students

Some say that armed teachers are the answer, but opponents of such a move say that more guns are not the answer. Even without adding armed teachers, states nationwide have introduced over 450 bills dealing with security measures at U.S. schools. These range from classroom locks to fortifying the entrances to schools and installing security cameras. The most serious of the proposals include the aforementioned arming of teachers or other trained volunteers, but even local law enforcement remain skeptical of such actions. In states that have approved such measures, there has not been a rush to participate in armed teacher programs.

Responding Once a Shooting Happens

According to some experts, once an active shooter has been reported, personnel on the affected campus should follow a simple procedure called ‘run, hide, fight.” Using this method, those trying to avoid and escape a shooter should first of all run away from the attacker or either try to escape or hide if running away is not possible. Only when no other option is available should they fight. For school children, the fighting will be done by the teacher and many are receiving training nationwide toward this last resort.

At college campuses such as California State University at Long Beach (CSULB), active shooter scenarios are being practiced on campus in the lead up to the start of the school year. Such exercises allow medical personnel to practice their response in the case of a shooter on their campus. The training is further bolstered by the use of mock victims, each tasked with enacting an injury, ranging from actual gunshot wounds to shock from seeing tragic events unfold before them. This gives triage workers the real world experience they need in case a real event unfolds. Hopefully that will not ever be the case, but if it does happen, they should be prepared.

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