In the post-Columbine era, we have trained school administrators and crisis teams to plan, train, and drilll closely with first-responders. I have always been an advocate for school resource officers (SROs), other local law enforcement, fire fighters, and emergency medical service personnel.
The Deer Creek Middle School shooting this week reminds us, however, that critical school incidents can unfold in seconds. Those seconds can feel like hours to the individuals who are directly involved in the incident.
Dr. David Benke, the math teacher at Deer Creek Middle School who tackled the armed gunman, indicated in interviews that he regretted not being able to get to the near-by shooter until the shooter had already fired the second round from the rifle. While everyone agreed his actions were swift and heroic, from his perspective time apparently moved at a different pace.
So while we encourage schools to forge genuine working partnerships with their local first responders, we must remember:
Our educators are our VERY first responders.
We must equip these “very-first” responders (our teachers, administrators, and support staff) with the training, tools, exercises, and support to react swiftly, efficiently, and effectively in the initial seconds and minutes as a crisis unfolds.
Their lives, and the lives of their students and colleagues, may depend upon it.
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