How To Protect Today’s Future Leaders During An Active Shooter Incident
“Lockdown, Lockdown. Lock the door.
Shut the lights off, Say no more.
Go behind the desk and hide.
Wait until it’s safe inside.
Lockdown, Lockdown, it’s all done.
Now it’s time to have some fun!”
There are 36,000 gun deaths a year and 0.2% occur on school grounds. Active shooter incidents in schools are a tragic and traumatizing part of our nation’s history. The earliest United States school shooting to be recorded was in July 1764. Typically known as the “Pontiac’s Rebellion”, this school massacre claimed the lives of schoolmaster Enoch Brown and ten other children, only two survived. The most notorious school shooting in the United States is the April 1999 Columbine Massacre. Two students walked into the Denver high school and gunned down 13 people and wounded 23 others. Lastly, the largest number of casualties for a school shooting in the United States was the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre that killed 32 students and faculty and wounded 17 others. Looking at these numbers can be alarming for any parents especially when they trust these schools to protect their children when they are not there to do so.
In the United States, pre-schools to colleges have “lock down” drills to prepare students and staff to respond in the unlikely event of an intruder. These procedures are implemented in 40 states for students and staff in a school building to remain confined in an area with specific procedures to follow. These drills vary from state to state but students and staff are required to participate. Some drills involve parental notification of trauma sensitive developmentally appropriate exercises, others deploy a “masked gunman” actor that requires students as young as 3 years old to be confined within a space for an extended period of time. The schools that implement the latter do not inform the children that they are in a drill until it is over. However, depending on circumstances, some lockdowns may produce anxiety, stress, and traumatic symptoms in some students or staff, as well as loss of instructional time.
Mental health experts have studied the effects of school shootings and warned schools about their students’ well-being because even a lock down drill has short/long term consequences on school performance, mental, and physical health of students. These students are consistently given the viewpoint that the world is scary and unpreventable things happen; This is what makes us less secure as a society.
Here are the two most recommended public and private K-12 school security solutions:
- Video Surveillance Camera Systems – This type of security system enables complete monitoring, wide coverage, and the ability to record all surveillance elements in various school buildings and locations simultaneously. They help verify who is inside your building and alert administrators of any suspicious behavior. Installing high-resolution security cameras also enables administrators to continuously monitor students and staff in hallways and on school grounds.
- Access Control Systems – An IP-based access control system is ideal for preventing unauthorized individuals from entering school buildings. If installed together with security cameras, this also makes it efficient to capture and record all access events. It is also important to consider having an electronic Access Control System installed which can prevent unauthorized entry by persons looking to engage in illegal activities on school property.
Whether you’re in a K-12 setting or a university, protecting students as well as teachers and administrators is top priority. As violence and safety issues become more prevalent on school campuses, school administrators need to ensure that students feel safe in their learning environments. It is important to provide primary caregivers with guidance on how to talk with children about their concerns or fears post lock-down.
Teachers and administrators should be specifically trained to recognize trauma reactions and offer mental health crisis intervention. It is important to not only have the resources to help students, administrators, and teachers pop lock-down but also to have the right equipment. Here at Total Security, it is our pleasure keeping the tri-state area’s future leaders safe.
Mitigating psychological effects of lockdowns. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2021, from https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/systems-level-prevention/mitigating-psychological-effects-of-lockdowns