It’s a sad reality that we have to talk about active shooter training for schools. But let’s face it: government organizations can’t possibly provide adequate protection for every campus across the nation.
In addition, most schools have already stretched their budgets to the breaking point. Whatever low-end security systems they can afford will typically offer little protection from a live shooter incident—and there are no widely accepted standards for them to use as reference.
We’re not arguing that parents shouldn’t continue to lobby for more government help. But in the meantime, schools need to take matters into their own hands to protect students, faculty, and staff. Whether you’re a parent, an administrator, or simply a concerned citizen, there are several things you can do to improve security at your local school.
What One School Did to Fight Back
During our firm’s years of experience providing active shooter training for schools, we’ve noticed a trend: schools are most successful at getting the protection they need when parents get involved.
At one private school we’ve worked with, the parents watched shooting after shooting on TV and decided enough was enough. They brought us in alongside other experts, heeded our assessments, and developed a budget for the security improvements they wanted to make.
It was then up to the parents to fundraise—and that’s exactly what they did. To make a long story short, they got the money they needed. The campus now has an access control system that revolves around card scanners, and retired police officers patrol the grounds with weapons. In case of a live shooter incident, these officers can tap into the school’s vault of automatic weapons.
Now, this may be a best-case scenario, and your mileage may vary. If you’re concerned about a local public school, there are several things to keep in mind. First of all, the Department of Homeland Security provides some online resources.
In addition, your local law enforcement agencies most likely provide active shooter training for schools, and you should take advantage of it. This training tends to be geared towards each individual grade level. The least you can do is ensure your students and staff have some basic training that may very well help them escape a shooting incident with their lives.
But what about preventing these incidents?
What to Ask Your School Administrator About Security
As we mentioned, most school districts don’t provide adequate security funds. But even if they do—or even if you gather the parents and have an enormously successful fundraising campaign—where should you spend the money?
The answer will vary depending on the specific needs of your campus. If you’re a concerned parent and suspect that your local school isn’t prepared to deal with a live shooter, start by asking the right questions. Call your school and ask:
- Are there security cameras at the school? Are they in good working order? Who is monitoring them?
- Is there a card access system? Can it lock down access to all rooms with the push of a button? Will it automatically notify all faculty in the event of an incident?
- Is there a dedicated security guard on campus? What level of training and certification has he or she received?
- Have all school staff been trained in using whatever security technology has been installed
This is by no means a comprehensive list of questions—nor can we guarantee that a school that answers “Yes” to most of them is prepared for every scenario. But if you begin your initiative by asking your police department about active shooter training for schools and then look into your options for security systems, you’ll be on the right track.