One year after the Newtown massacre there hasn’t been a lot of progress on school safety—depending on where you live. Some states—most notably Utah—have made it easier indeed possible for teachers to arm themselves to defend against an attack. Also on the positive side, new school construction is putting target hardening at the top of the agenda. In Newtown, Connecticut and elsewhere, armed School Resource Officers now patrol school corridors. In general, though, it’s more of the same safety procedures that failed at Sandy Hook Elementary: shelter-in-place “lockdown drills” and “call the cops” protocol. So what can your child do to survive during the rare but potentially cataclysmic event of a school shooter? I spoke with the rabbi, gun guru David Kenick, on the subject. Click here (direct download link) for David’s free eBook on the subject. Here are the big three . . .
1. Run away!
Standard operating procedure for an active shooter: lock down the school, gather the children, shelter-in-place. The Newtown massacre teaches us that this policy is fatally flawed. Literally. Lanza was able to murder 20 children—easily—because they were gathered in one place. One insecure place. Until and unless schools harden classrooms into a proper safe rooms, lockdown simply creates a killing field. This is not where you want your child to be.
Depending on your child’s age, running away, out of the school, is a better response. Yes, your child may run right into the shooter or shooters and die. But his or her chances of surviving are greater than staying in a group of potential victims. If you agree, tell your child to head for the hills if he or she hears gunfire (teach them what gunfire sounds like).
Establish a place near the school to rendezvous. A nearby house where your child can call your cell is ideal (especially if the home owner is armed). Make sure to tell your kid to maintain operational security about his or her run-for-the-hills plan. There’s no need for you to get into a debate with school administrators on their rules and regulations for active shooters; you’ll just aggravate yourself.
Your child may not be able to leave the school during an active shooter incident. If they are separated from their class—whether accidentally or per your instruction—they should hide. Ask your child to identify some suitable hiding spaces inside the school, realizing that there’s no guarantee that an active shooter event will be as short-lived as recent examples. Your children should also be advised about the importance of barricading a hiding place.
Hiding is also the best plan B if the shooter is looking for a specific target (e.g. Karl Pierson during yesterday’s school shooting in Colorado). How will your child know? If the shooter or shooters are bypassing other students that’s a pretty good indication the bad guy or guys have a target in mind. That said, it’s never safe to assume that the shooter or shooters’ won’t circle back and begin taking innocent lives.
[Note: Many of the children slaughtered at Sandy Hook were hiding in a closet when Adam Lanza found them. Sitting in a classroom corner isn’t hiding. That’s waiting.]
If your child can’t run away or hide from a spree killer or killers, there is only one option left: fight. Tell your child to find a weapon, any weapon, and attack. Better yet, set up an ambush and attack. Better yet, coordinate classmates, set up an ambush and attack. It’s best to discuss this plan with your child. They must understand that they have your permission to do anything to disable, wound or kill their enemy.