One of the most infuriating aspects of the Sand Hook Elementary School massacre: the information blackout in its immediate aftermath. The cynical amongst you might say that the results of the investigation into the tragedy were delayed long enough for Governor Malloy and his boyz to ram through gun control laws – despite the fact that none of the new laws – not one of them – would have prevented Adam Lanza’s heinous crime. Key details of the police response (e.g. their delayed entry into the school) were withheld from the public. The crime scene was literally bulldozed before experts could use it to learn lessons for future attacks. And now, almost two years later, we note that the school’s active shooter plan was fatally flawed. Literally . . .
ktar.com ran an article on a recent school safety seminar in Phoenix. In it, Tom Foley, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, highlighted a startling fact about the Newtown spree killing . . .
Foley said in that incident, the school was not equipped with locks on the inside of classroom doors. The protocol was that the janitor would go around and lock the doors from the outside during a lockdown situation.
“In an event that lasts two minutes, you don’t have time to have somebody else going through the halls (locking doors),” said Foley. “What happens when that person gets shot?”
Checking the Sandy Hook Final Report (page 18), here’s the relevant bit:
The doors in the hallway all locked from the outside with a key. The interior door handles had no locking mechanism. All of the doors opened outwardly toward the hallway. All doors were solid wood with a circular window in the upper half of the door.
So who exactly devised and authorized this janitor-dependent policy? How many other schools in Connecticut and elsewhere have classroom doors that can’t be locked from the inside? That may depend on when they were built.
“The [Sandy Hook] school was built in the 50’s,” Professor Foley told TTAG. “Probably so that children couldn’t lock themselves into the classroom . . . There’s a need to retrofit a lot of these old schools.”
How’s that going? Anyway, it’s only one of the lessons that MUST be learned from Newtown. Others include the fact that “sheltering in place” is a recipe for slaughter. Perhaps classrooms should have windows allowing students to escape. What else? It’s hard to know; many of the official records were redacted in the final report.
After Newtown, the NRA created a National School Shield Task Force. Their non-partisan experts researched and released a comprehensive report on school safety before and during active shooter events. [Click here to read.] Unfortunately, many if not most of its key recommendations were ignored.
Yes, the Phoenix conference and others like it indicate educators’ and administrators’ new willingness to prepare for an armed attack on a school. Even so, depending on where it occurs, another Newtown could be just as deadly as before – if not worse. Especially if multiple terrorists attack.
America still isn’t ready to confront the plain truth that we must defend our children by force of arms. The sooner we repeal Bush the Elder’s Gun-Free School Zone Safety Act, the better. It’s not the answer, but it would be an important step in the right direction.