I’ve been reading headline after headline, article after article and have become nauseated and depressed.
Instead of writing one of my usual upbeat pieces, I’m compelled to honor that journalist in me; the reporter that once was and do one of the hard stories. I remember when I started in TV news. I was 21 and assigned a story on a marine helicopter pilot that died in a crash. I was told to track down the wife and get an interview. I remember crying walking up to their door and forcing myself to ring the doorbell. I didn’t want to do the story. Just like I don’t want to do this story now. But I am anyway.
I’ve sourced a valuable video on preparing young kids on school lockdowns and how to approach the inconceivable. And, in the meantime, while I have no political opinion or solution, I pray that securing our schools and protecting our babies finally becomes our country's number one priority.
I connected with the founder (Scott) of Pro Defense Advisors, a company run by a first responder and police instructor. According to Scott, in the case of an on-campus active shooter, elementary-aged students are at the direction of the responsible adult, which is probably a teacher. It is the burden of that adult to put the class in the best possible position and then fight like hell on their behalf. While my article is focusing on kids, Pro Defense Advisors does offer security guides for school staff. Should that interest you, click here.
When it comes to kids, Scott is a strong proponent of the RUN-HIDE-FIGHT protocol supported by the FBI. He thinks it is straight-forward, easy to remember, and initiate.
Here is a solid video walking through the concepts.
Some notes to go along with the video for the kids:
1. If you see something, say something. A student may see or hear something early. Tell an adult immediately.
2. Run. If you don't know what else to do and there is no other clear direction, running is usually a good bet. Tell young kids to get separation from the bad guy.
3. Lock the door! Rarely has a child been injured in a school shooting behind a locked room door. It is usually too much trouble for the shooter to defeat the lock/door.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice. Lockdown drills should be a routine part of school administration. When confined in a locked room, instruct children to stay quiet, hide, and avoid being visible to any window.
5. Avoid boxed in spaces with limited options for escape. Anytime there’s a confined space, get out. Bathrooms are horrible; they don’t usually have windows and there’s nothing inside that will stop a bullet. Another tip: Stay out of doorways.
6. As parents, recognize you can make a difference. Be active in your child’s school. Create partnerships with teachers and admin to better implement plans that mitigate risk. Schools often won’t make changes unless they feel pressure to do so. Ensure your child’s school is prepared for the worst.
According to Scott, there is also another tactical theory called ALICE - Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. It has many great points but is complex and requires lots of training.