Active shooter training and changes to lock-down procedures are impacting the way people respond in violent events. School districts traditionally use the hide and lock-down tactic, which make students ‘sitting targets.’ Instead, many schools have changed to using active shooter training drills, which incorporate action-based responses.
Active Shooter Training Played a Role at Highlands Ranch Shooting
Results from changes to school active shooter training drills can be seen in the way students reacted in the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch this week, according to San Antonio-based Ryan Searles, Vice President of Risk Management for The Texas Group, Inc., who was featured in an interview by Fox San Antonio on this topic.
According to Searles, students at STEM School Highlands Ranch were empowered to take action.
“The kids that were able, in the school, to get out and run from school did so. It wasn’t a universal mass lock-down where everybody got locked down in one place,” said Searles.
Reports from the STEM school incident state some students tackled the shooter, while others evacuated. Searles says the situation helped the students fight back: “When we’re in a situation like that, we have great power in numbers. The more people that help and try to fight back, the better it is.”
Tragically, student Kendrick Castillo died while trying to stop a gunman. He was only days from graduation. But if not for Castillo’s brave actions, other students would have been killed, according to Searles.
“In those kids acting and jumping on that person right away. They saved a whole bunch of lives by doing that. He could have killed a whole classroom. That spurred others to react and eventually stop the shooter.”
Searles also indicated that in addition to active shooter training drills, having an armed security officer on campus was a significant factor in the Colorado school situation.
“This day and age times are different. Law enforcement needs to be made aware, we need to have better communication between teachers, administrators, law enforcement and mental health professionals. We need to start keying in on signals so we can prevent an incident from happening.”
Texas Lawmakers Propose Senate Bill 11 Focused on School Safety
Texas state lawmakers are working on a bill to improve school safety. Proposed Senate Bill 11 is the result of Governor Greg Abbott’s work with numerous groups including educators, administrators, parents, students, law enforcement personnel, and mental health experts on the topic of school safety. The Governor has made school safety in Texas one of his top priorities following the Santa Fe High School shooting a year ago, which resulted in the death of ten people. For more on that and the specifics in the proposed bill, read: Texas State Lawmakers Hope to Pass School Safety Bill.
What Schools Can Do To Mitigate Risk
Our team is in the security business and we’re passionate about the role we play in keeping people safe—and in keeping schools and children safe. Know that there is help out there if your school needs it, by way of grants, both at a federal level and at a state level. It’s best to go into the sometimes daunting grant-seeking process with a full assessment and review of your existing school security system. Our team at 3Sixty has much experience with that and we are standing by to help when and if you need it. You can contact me directly by email here, or call me at 210-545-1770, ext. 105.
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