“I always felt like serving children was my calling. I studied Psychology in college and knew I wanted to work in a field that made the lives of children better. After college, I spent a summer volunteering as an English teacher in a deeply impoverished village outside of Lima, Peru. You can see me pictured here with many of my students on their celebration of “Teacher’s Day” back in the mid-2000s.
I took my first career position serving children with mental health diagnoses while working on my masters degree. After that position, I began my own family.
But something happened in our society that rocked mine and my husband, Steve’s world. A mass shooting in a school. The death of those children, teachers and parents hit us to the core and led us to our biggest calling: Guardian Defense.
I accepted this interview with VoyageMIA so the reader can learn more about the driving force behind our company and just how important this topic is to safety and well-being of our nation’s children.”
Interview with VoyageMIA – Meet Taylor Smith, Guardian Defense Co-Founder & Vice-President
Hi Taylor, how does your business help the community or the world?
“A child lost their life in school at the hand of a deranged gunman…” is a headline we should never have to read. When the story continues to include multiple children and adults, occurring at numerous schools and organizations over decades, we know a larger issue is occurring in our society. Us founders at Guardian Defense formed this organization after realizing the devastating effects major school shootings like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012 and the Beslan School Massacre in Russia in 2004, had on society.
Whether it was an active shooter, or an active threat (such as a hostile parent or violent intruder), we knew that school administrators were looking for ways to protect their students and staff. And most importantly, have a concrete plan in place. Guardian Defense helps schools, businesses, and places of worship develop a comprehensive plan for any threat that may put their group in danger.
We have found that most organizations are ill-prepared simply because they don’t know what to do or where to start. An active threat is not like other emergencies. It is different from other threats because the threat is continuously changing and moving; and doesn’t always elicit the same response, such as an evacuation.
Our Policy-Train-Drill initiative gives administrators confidence that they have a written plan and the proper training to go along with it. Our vision is that all schools and workplaces adopt the ‘Policy-Train-Drill’ initiative. We expect every school and business to develop a policy for active threat response that enhances security and planning for the worst-case scenario. We envision schools and companies train and prepare for an intruder or active killer, as one would train and prepare for fires, natural disasters, and other critical incidents. Finally, we expect schools and workplaces to implement their policies and training by conducting drills regularly. We know we cannot stop every dangerous act from occurring. However, we can prevent many threats before they even start; and even minimize mass casualties. We never want to read the headlines from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Pulse Nightclub, and the many other major incidents we’ve seen in years past, ever again. Training builds muscle memory. Muscle memory leads to confidence. We’re helping society feel confident they have a plan to protect themselves and their loved ones when faced with a critical incident.”
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