Written by: Greg Ellifritz
In the past two decades doing this work, I’ve spoken with a whole lot of school teachers and administrators about school safety issues.
While well-intentioned, I’ve generally found that most school administrators have a “it won’t happen here” attitude and will not devote the necessary time and resources to truly secure their schools. Until recently, I have honestly not met a single school administrator who is doing enough to keep the students safe.
Yesterday I provided some pro bono consultation to a rural school district in Indiana. It is one of only a couple school districts in the state that have authorized armed school staff. I was absolutely stunned by dedication of the school superintendent. He is taking the most thorough and comprehensive approach to school security that I have ever seen.
He’s already trained teachers and students about early warning signs of school violence. He has a sensible reporting program in place to handle those potential threats. He has imposed single points of entry to all schools, hardened individual classroom security, and made sure all external doors and windows have impact resistant glass.
He is fine tuning an alarm system that will transmit real time data (with video) to all school staff cell phones as well as police and fire mobile computers.
He has the ability to manually turn off all sirens if the fire alarm is pulled to force an evacuation. Knowing that there hasn’t been a child killed in a school fire in more than 50 years and that recent active killer trends involve killers pulling fire alarms to break lockdowns, he has mandated that all unscheduled fire alarms are automatically treated as lockdowns until a fire is verified by video feed or staff report.
As a last resort, he has trained some of his staff members to respond to school shootings with lethal force. He has an excellent weapons storage protocol that minimizes the risk of accidental discharges in the school while still providing quick access to the weapons.
Most importantly, he has committed to providing monthly firearms/defensive tactics training for all armed staff. Additionally, he is planning quarterly force on force scenario based training for the armed teachers and administrators.
In a short period of time, his armed teachers will likely be better trained to handle school shootings than the police officers/deputies who will be responding to the “shots fired” calls
He has other innovative security ideas that I will not reveal. Let’s just say that students in his school district are truly well protected.
This is what is possible with a little dedication and commitment. If your child’s school isn’t doing something similar, you should be asking your administrators/school board some tough questions.