As the owner of this blog, and of a small business that provides safety and firearms training, I feel a responsibility to address the recent shooting in Connecticut. Just like many other people, it has taken me a few days to try and comprehend this horrific incident.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and victims of this terrible crime. I can only begin to imagine their overwhelming grief.
“There’s going to be no joy in school,” said 17-year-old senior P.J. Hickey. “It really doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore.”
The question remains, “How can we assure the safety of our children when they are at school”? Training of teachers and school staff, who are legally and morally responsible for the safety of our children, should be the primary focus. Education is the key. Is that so surprising? Just as we provide education for subjects such as math, reading and writing, we need to consider the ‘real life skills’ that need to be learned by all. Teachers and staff need to be trained in scenarios that include dealing with an armed criminal. We have long accepted the idea that fire drills and earthquake drills are an integral part of any school system. Our children’s safety is also threatened by individuals. Telling our kids, “Don’t talk to strangers”, is not enough. Those days are gone forever…
Very little is publicly known regarding the survival skills taught to teachers and school staff when it comes to shootings. One article stated the teacher and children were directed to hide in the closet. Those of us who train for armed self defense know the difference between concealment and cover. Other weapons such as knives, baseball bats, or just plain bullying seem to be less talked about in the media, but still involve the basic survival skills. Today’s teachers are tasked with not only educating our children in the basic reading, writing and arithmetic but now they have to be prepared to defend their students lives. This requires not only training for the teachers, but consideration of their current compensation. Elementary school age children must rely on the adults in their lives to provide them with appropriate direction, especially in times of crisis. Those adults better be adequately trained and prepared.
We all need to ask ourselves, “Are we adequately prepared, and trained, to deal with crisis”? Having a SAFETY PLAN is the first step to being adequately prepared. If someone kicks in your door at midnight, what would you do? What would your children do? How would you secure their safety? How would you escape an armed criminal? If you had to defend your life, or the life of your loved ones, what are you prepared to do? And, then there is the aftermath. All physical confrontations result in injury, regardless of the outcome. If you don’t have a plan, you are a sitting duck. And so are your children.
Everyone needs a plan, even the teachers. Get training, make a plan, and practice. You can bet the criminal has a plan.