First and foremost, it is a sad day anytime evil accesses our schools and hurts innocent children. There is no one in the vicinity of an active shooter attack that is not affected either physically or mentally by these cowardly acts. I truly hope that each child, teacher and family member can find peace and begin healing.
In the most recent Nashville school attack, the responding officers showed us that Uvalde is NOT the example of a typical Active Shooter Response by LE. These brave Officers ran towards gunfire, hunted and terminated the threat without hesitation. The communication between Officers during the response was something all Officers should strive for; get the rifle up front, push hard to the threat, don't get distracted by casualties, engage. I don’t know who trained them but these guys are what being a PRO looks like.
Sadly in this most recent attack we see that schools are still exposed to the same threats as Sandy Hook in Dec 2012. The shooter in Nashville gained access into the building by shooting glass doors and crawling through without restriction. One would think that after 10 years this would no longer be an exposure yet it continues to be at campuses across the nation. There are low cost - high value solutions to delay entry even with gunfire to glass, but school districts have to be willing to fund these critical physical security measures instead of prioritizing sports and entertainment venue improvements. In almost every Threat Assessment we conduct, this is a top recommendation yet some schools never implement the upgrades.
How do you as a parent drive change? It begins by holding the School Board and Superintendent accountable for the safety of each campus in your district. We work with many Superintendents that are supported by the School Board that they report to, most genuinely have a concern for site security and are looking to make improvements. The problem lies with Districts that only prioritize site security when there is an Active Shooter Event, then a few weeks later they move on to their next pet project that is sports or entertainment related. Go to School Board meetings, ask the hard questions, and don't accept anything less than improved security as the answer! No, they are not going to discuss TTP (Tactics, Techniques & Procedures) with you but they CAN tell you that improvements are in place or in progress that will delay entry during an attack. Follow up and ensure they are not dragging their feet, hold them accountable every single meeting. If the School Board isn't willing to make changes for the safety and security of your children then it is time to vote them out and elect people that WILL. Same goes for the Superintendent.
As we learn more about the planned attack on The Covenant School in Nashville we know that this campus was targeted due to a lower security element than other schools in the same area. The attacker evaluated multiple sites and targeted this one based on their ability to gain entry and execute their plan. This further emphasizes the need for site security, and not just a fence or gate that looks aesthetically pleasing. Make improvements and let the public know that your campus is not a soft target, attackers are cowards and will choose the path of least resistance most of the time. Again, this requires a Threat Assessment and follow-up actions to mitigate security risks. We conducted an Assessment a few years ago for a Superintendent and the SRO assured him that the campus was secure (the same SRO sat in his oversized retirement chair and refused to walk with us during the site visit). We found an iron gate that was easily opened by reaching through allowing us unrestricted access into the entire High School Campus, I am willing to bet a steak dinner that the gate is still the same to this day. If we do not improve site security we will continue to see these senseless attacks on our innocent children, it is time to make a change!
Time and Distance are what our Teachers/Staff need between the attacker and the children, anything we can do to create more time and distance allows our First Responders to get on scene, locate and terminate the threat reducing loss of life. Allowing our campuses to remain soft targets is irresponsible and dangerous, it is past time to wish it would get better. There are many aspects to preventing and stopping Active Shooter Events in our schools, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Don't be afraid to think outside the box, just because someone says it has to be one way and that is how ABC agency teaches does not mean there aren't potentially better methods. What makes us different is our ability to use the experience of our Team consisting of Active SWAT Officers and former SOF Operators to solve any problem we identify. Always look for better methods, it is how we improve responses and increase survivability.
More to come..........