Blog Archives

School shooters are not just “ordinary kids”: Will our past determine our future?

Posted by on June 23, 2014

If we do not make changes, then our past will determine our future and we will continue to have school shootings. This statement was a part of my first testimony before Congress in March of 1999 shortly before the massacre at Columbine High School. My testimony focused on the need for increased mental health services […]

Franklin Regional High School stabbing: Was pulling the fire alarm the best practice?

Posted by on April 15, 2014

One student stabbed and/or injured twenty-two students and staff on April 9th in the hallways of a Pennsylvania high school.  Once again, a tragedy played out in the hallways of our schools. What is troubling to me is the continued media reports of what a “good” thing it was for an injured student to pull […]

Teaching students to attack gunmen is NOT the standard of care

Posted by on February 24, 2014

Is teaching students to throw things at, and to attack, heavily armed gunmen really the new standard of care? This question was recently raised in a conversation I had with a veteran school security director for a large U.S. school district. He was concerned that some individuals may mistakenly be lead to believe that such […]

Exercise caution with full scale school active shooter exercises

Posted by on February 18, 2014

Since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, we have noticed an increase in first responders, primarily law enforcement, conducting full scale exercises at schools using staff and students. These exercises are also coming under increased scrutiny by the media and broader public, as reported this past weekend in the NBC stories Fake Blood and Blanks: Schools Stage […]

Research data appears not to support students fighting gunmen

Posted by on February 16, 2014

January, 2014* An academic research report often pointed to by advocates for teaching students and teachers to fight heavily armed gunmen presents data showing that the majority of 21 active shooters in K-12 schools were NOT stopped by citizens subduing the gunman. Data provided from a forthcoming book chapter on active shooters in schools by […]

10 lessons learned from the Sandy Hook school shootings

Posted by on December 4, 2013

Our team’s analysis of the Sandy Hook Final Report released by the Connecticut State’s Attorney continues with 10 key lessons learned for school security and emergency preparedness. While additional details may be revealed in forthcoming documents from the Connecticut State Police, 10 important lessons from Sandy Hook have emerged based upon the final report, information […]

State’s Attorney report: Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings

Posted by on December 2, 2013

The Connecticut State’s Attorney final summary report on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings for many is an underwhelming, anticlimactic account of an overwhelming tragedy. No earth-shattering new lessons, but repeated themes of past shootings Rather than revealing a stream of earth-shattering new lessons learned, the report sadly reiterates themes heard over and over again from school shootings of […]

Sandy Hook school shooting report: New lessons or old lessons revisited?

Posted by on November 25, 2013

A much anticipated report on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings is due out Monday afternoon. The Connecticut State’s Attorney will present a summary report on the shooting, although the release of the full Connecticut State Police report continues to be delayed. The tactical response of Newtown Police and other first responders will likely receive a […]

ALICE training and run-hide-fight: Are students and educators risking injury?

Posted by on October 29, 2013

If trainees and trainers are being injured during A.L.I.C.E. training and run-hide-fight programs, should we be worried about children being hurt when educators and students are taught to throw things at, and to attack, armed gunmen? Are principals, superintendents and school boards aware of, and prepared to take on, this responsibility and potential liability? Questions about student […]

School safety lessons: A teacher survives an active shooter

Posted by on October 23, 2013

Monday’s shooting at Sparks Middle School in Nevada ended with the tragic death of a math teacher and the student/shooter, and the injury of two other students. The teacher, Michael Landberry, a Marine and National Guard member who served multiple tours in Afghanistan, reportedly intervened in an effort to get the shooter to put down […]