Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Summer is over and the kids are back in school. One conversation parents probably hate talking to their kids about more than sex education is an active shooter situation. No one wants to think about the worst thing happening to their kids which goes along with a house fire, bad car accident, rape/assault, etc, and in this article an active shooter incident…
Despite what the media wants you to believe the truth is active shooter scenarios are rare. Only roughly 11% of murders are from people who don’t know each other. However, we don’t want our children to be unprepared (just like a house fire). I’m going to break down what each range of students (elementary, middle, high school, and college) can do to help them be prepared. First and foremost having a plan and taking action is ALWAYS better than being a sitting duck!
Elementary Aged kids:
For your kindergartner to 5th grader, there are really only two options. Run or Hide. Escaping will always be the best option for every age group. You want to get away from a shooter but also the entire building. The hallways are danger areas that the teachers must make sure they are clear from a threat before the kids take the fastest exit out of the school. This is not a walking fire drill… RUN... It should be the teacher's responsibility to ensure all kids get out not your child.
Also because it is not a fire drill, talk to the teachers about finding a covered or concealed position where they can consolidate the kids. The normal stand-out in line by the parking lot in the open “fire drill” consolidation point can be deadly.
The next option for elementary-aged kids is to hide. For sure the least ideal. Ask your teachers if they have the capability to lock the doors from the inside. There is a difference between cover and concealment. Cover is something you can hide behind that will stop bullets. Concealment Hides you! Most schools are made of cinder blocks. While cinder block is not bulletproof it is better than a desk. I recommend they hide in a classroom that can lock, to hide on the same wall as the door but at the other end away from the door. Most classroom doors have small windows where you cannot see to the end of the room. However, locking and securing the space is key!
Middle Schoolers are similar to Elementary aged kids. However, they are stronger and faster. I’m not going to recommend you tell them to fight back, BUT they can help! The biggest areas they can help compared to elementary kids is with building barricades and trying to create escapes. Barricades will work for immediate doorways that are not locked. Barricades create time (time to escape and time for help to arrive). Most school windows are ¼ inch thick tempered glass. A strong middle schooler can break that with a solid blunt object. Remind them to be aggressive and they need to do everything they can to break that glass! Remind your little one to clear the window of broken glass so they or others don’t cut themselves as they escape. Remember the key is survival!
High School and College:
This is where the conversation can become dicey, not just for the kids but you as the parent. All of the above will work for your little ones, but at the High School and College age they can do one more thing. FIGHT! Fighting is not the first resort. However, I don’t think it should be the last. Don’t tell your kids to look for the shooter either. A defensive position is easier to defend than it will be to take new ground (this statement goes both ways). When you look at the UNCC Shooting a brave young man named Riley saved many students by charging the shooter. Without Riley’s bravery, I would be willing to bet at least 4 more students would have died. Riley bought the campus Police time to arrive in the room. This did ultimately end Riley’s young and promising life, but his sacrifice is something that should be applauded and praised! With that being said a one-on-one scenario will not be good for the person without the gun. If you discuss with your kids the idea of fighting back remind them to do everything possible to win and survive. At the end of the day, this is a conversation no parent wants to have with their kid. We would rather talk about their futures they deserve to have, but this is a conversation we should not avoid. Watchmen Solutions offers Security Consultations providing comprehensive and affordable solutions to help you and your family stay alive. Contact us if you'd like to learn more!