Many do not know that violence in our schools has existed, particularly in terms of mass killings, since the early 20th century.
In 1927, for example, Andrew Kehoe detonated several explosives at the Bath Consolidated School disaster, killing a total of 43 people. Incidents overseas in Beslan, Russia and close to home, such as Sandy Hook Elementary, have left an impact on us all. Active shooter incidents and other threatening events in our schools are becoming more evident each day. The need to protect children in our schools is more important than ever.
Defining Active Shooter Training for Schools
The FBI defines active shooter as, “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area”. The term active shooter training is understood as a series of training strategies designed to minimize mass causalities in the event of an active shooter or active threat. Due to the unique nature of our schools, active shooter training for schools must be customized to meet the needs of the school community.
The Need For Active Shooter Training For Schools
When speaking to school staff, we found that many don’t know what to do if there was an intruder on campus. More specifically, they don’t know what to do for an active shooter. Simply posing the question, “What would you do if an active shooter entered your classroom right now?” can understandably raise a sense of anxiety in a teacher.
We know that teachers refer to their students as “their children” and that is because they would do anything to protect them.
It is important to understand that although no school is immune to this type of attack, teachers are not helpless in directly preventing and/or mitigating mass casualties.
Minimizing Active Shooter Incidents At Schools
Our experience shows ways schools can work to prevent and/or minimize injuries and deaths as a result of active threat incidents:
- Develop policies made specifically for threats on campus.
- Tip: Create policies for a threat on-campus and off-campus.
- Provide threat response training to all teachers and school staff.
- Tip: Ensure your active shooter training for schools is the right fit for your school.
- Conduct active threat drills with students and staff that are practiced regularly.
- Tip: Vary the drills to include lockdowns, lockouts, and table-top exercises. Keep parents and law enforcement informed!
- Secure your school with visual deterrents and other security measures.
- Examples: site survey, school resource officers, security officers, single point entry, locked exterior doors, security cameras, identification for all visitors and staff, perimeter gates, alarm systems, etc.
Minimizing deaths occurs using a combination of these bullet points, not just one.
Making Your School A Hard Target
Some of you may have heard the terms soft target and hard target. In terms of a school, a soft target is easily infiltrated for the purpose of causing harm or disruption.
In a majority of cases, attackers already know the area, or familiarize themselves in advance with the desired area of attack. They will know how to pass a security guard with detection, for example. Or, they will study vulnerable times to attack.
The opposing idea applies to a school that is a hard target.
The staff and students at this school will have a plan and feel more comfortable with how they should respond.
- What takes even the most security-enhanced school to the next level?
- What makes them a hard target?
A school that has created policies, trained their staff, and applied their knowledge through drills with students.
An intruder who wants to get into a building will do so. Learning what to do when that threat reaches inside is vital to survival. School administrators who create layers of resistance will minimize lives lost and potentially deter this event from occurring altogether.
A school becomes a hard target the moment staff members train to take quick action and react independently based upon the situation they are in.
Active Threat Response Program for Schools
We recognize the need for an active shooter training for schools and developed the Active Threat Response Program for Schools.
This active shooter training program for schools encompasses the most important solutions mentioned above. The training provides school staff the confidence needed in order to protect and defend students in the event of an intruder, active shooter, or other terror attack.
The active shooter training for schools program is offered in a variety ways to meet every schools’ needs.
We encourage schools to assess their current safety procedures and training for their staff. Then, visit our sign up page for more information about our programs.
What Makes Our Active Shooter Training For Schools Program Outstanding
We provide schools with strategies for empowering staff to eliminate feelings of helplessness in the face of violent intruders. Our team of current law enforcement officers, retired military personnel, and mental health professionals apply their knowledge to these training programs.
Our instructors make our program outstanding. They have been selected for their experience as officers and their firsthand experience working with schools. They possess experience in developing emergency lockdown drill procedures, providing feedback for drills, changing policies to improve police response to schools and attending valuable school administrator trainings. Our team’s experience, combined with a calm, yet deliberate approach is unparalleled to any other active shooter training for schools in the nation.
Active Shooter Training for Schools Conducted by Police Departments
You may hear active shooter training for schools being conducted by police departments in the news. Articles and video footage showcase what officers and other first responders do during a live drill. Teachers and sometime students or volunteers are used as props to create a more realistic scenario. This type of training is helpful to first responders, school staff and the community because it:
- gives first responders the chance to practice their response skills; and
- familiarizes first responders with the layout of the school’s campus.
However, this training primarily benefits the response efforts of trained first responders and offers limited benefits to the school staff who are more likely to respond to an incident first. Make no mistake- this type of training should be encouraged when conducted appropriately. However, active shooter training conducted for first responders should not supplement training for school staff.
Preparing Today for a Safer Tomorrow
On average, an active shooter incident lasts 10-15 minutes, including the beginning of the attack to the time the threat is eliminated. Ten to fifteen minutes with explosives, guns, or other weapons is a long time to have access to victims. According to American Police Beat, in 2014, the national average for police emergency response time was 10 minutes.
Our active shooter training for schools program was influenced by major mass killing incidents in schools. The mass-killing incident overseas in Beslan, Russia in 2004 caused approximately 1,100 students and faculty to be taken hostage by terrorists during a three-day siege. During the massacre, over 385 people were murdered, including 186 children.
Another major incident that ignited our passion to create these programs occurred here in the U.S. at Sandy Hook Elementary. In 2012, Adam Lanza forced his way through the school’s single point entry system by shooting his way through the glass. He killed 26 people, including 20 children. After-action reports and first-hand accounts from incidents like these throughout history have taught us what we know today.
Our teachers and staff are the first line of defense. They become the true first responders in protecting the students and themselves from violent attacks.
Every moment that goes by during a violent incident puts another life at risk.
ACT NOW and prepare today for a safer tomorrow!!!!