When I served as a police lieutenant in charge of helping the schools in my community, I had to get the message through to everyone in the district that the most dangerous thing they could say is “It will never happen here!”
While it is true that statistically the chance of a school shooting in your child’s school is small, if we look at the situation a little differently the real danger is clear. At every event I ask the audience to tell me when and where the next school shooting will take place, because I will go to that school and prevent the violence. I have never had anyone raise their hand to say where and when the next shooting will happen because no one knows.The reality of school shootings, at any school in America is that we must all, prepare to prevent, if possible, any attack and to respond properly if an active shooter / killer attacks our school because the next horrific incident is only days or moments away.
Here are a few steps that can be taken by you, the parent.
- Talk to your kids and encourage them to be aware of what is going on around them and if they “see something, say something.”
- Help convert the adage that “it won’t happen here”to “we won’t let it happen here.” Remember “Hope is Not a Tactic.”
- Push to have a Threat Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (TVRA) conducted on every building where students and staff gather by a qualified assessor.
- Get involved, attend board meetings and work with other parents to let your school district leaders know your concerns must be addressed.
- Ask if an outside security consultant has helped them build a prioritization schedule of where dollars should be allocated or if they are relying on companies who are pushing the latest “panacea” product.
- Understand that there are things the district cannot tell you about their security, things that must remain covert to be effective.
- Do you see your district making changes that are in line with current best practices of safety and security? Some examples may include arrival and dismissal, lock down drill procedures, visitor protocol, police presence, securing the playground, staff training, and locking doors.
- Ask about what the schools plan is for the Human Threat Assessment. This is the early identification, intervention, and long-term management of students that are a threat to themselves and others in the district.