A Marinette, Wisconsin, student took 23 students and a teacher hostage in a high school classroom, later releasing them and shooting himself on Monday evening.
Teaching Kids to Fight Armed Intruders?
Interestingly, the week prior to Thanksgiving I received a call from school crisis team members from one of the nation’s largest school districts. They were seeking advice about whether to teach students to fight armed intruders.
I addressed this issue well over two years ago when I spoke out against teaching students to fight armed gunmen. The concept may sound logical on its surface and it might be worthy of discussion in a college or similar adult-dominated setting. But I have consistently had serious reservations about its applicability and the practicality of implementing it in pre-K to 12 school settings, as I outlined in my web site article.
Focusing on School Preparedness Fundamentals
School officials and first responders need to plan, prepare, and practice for potential emergencies. They must think through what sounds good and feels good, drilling down to what is actually realistically, pragmatic, and often times common sense.
This lastest Wisconsin hostage incident provides a reminder to school officials about the importance of having emergency plans, practicing drills, and working cooperatively in school crisis planning with first responders. Issues such as lockdowns, evacuations, parent staging areas, media and parent crisis communications, and a host of other issues can come into play.
What is popular or what sounds good may, after a bit of discussion and analysis, not be the most realistic or useful steps for meaningful preparedness. Too often, over a decade past Columbine, we still see some far reaching and questionable proposed approaches to school emergency preparedness. Ironically, these discussions get attention at the same time when many schools have still yet to focus on and master the more fundamental best practices.
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