Nation's largest teachers unions call to end active shooter drills over fears they're traumatizing students

Roland Deschain

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I've taught Active Shooter/Critical Incident stuff for a while now. Here's my impressions:

1. People are trained to be sheep for the most part. It's sad and frustrating. I work really hard to help individuals and organizations to overcome that. The biggest first step is to get people to understand that you can't stop everything, but you DO have options and decisions to make, even if you are caught with pants down.

2. We use a combination of experience with violence, experience with threat assessment, and experience with behavioral profiling. Then we combine that with ALICE, and some hands on exercises to help people take action. A lot of people in classes just want a mathematical formula to survive.... like if bad guy does X, they can do Y. That's not how life works. We use OODA loop as a framework for making decisions, and then Run/Hide/Fight as well as ALICE to break down the options they have within that framework. The challenge is that as an organization, you can't just put out a message telling people what to do, because YOU DON'T KNOW what they are seeing. So the answer is to upgrade their 'software'. Make decisions efficiently that force a bad actor to react to YOU.... not vice versa.

3. The biggest thing that helps people is showing them how to effectively barricade an area, position themselves tactically, and how to physically confront a shooter the instant they come into the space to they don't have time to collect data and select victims. It's empowering to adults, and we've had excellent feedback.

4. I am extremely pro-gun in my presentations, and point out the hypocrisy of Massachusetts laws as often as I can. I've never had any complaints

5. I don't shoot people with sim guns or airsoft guns. That just creates a feeling of powerlessness and training scars in my opinion. They already know they are behind the 8-ball, and it's pure ego when 'alpha males' run around shooting people to 'show them'.
 

Picton

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I've taught Active Shooter/Critical Incident stuff for a while now. Here's my impressions:

1. People are trained to be sheep for the most part. It's sad and frustrating. I work really hard to help individuals and organizations to overcome that. The biggest first step is to get people to understand that you can't stop everything, but you DO have options and decisions to make, even if you are caught with pants down.

2. We use a combination of experience with violence, experience with threat assessment, and experience with behavioral profiling. Then we combine that with ALICE, and some hands on exercises to help people take action. A lot of people in classes just want a mathematical formula to survive.... like if bad guy does X, they can do Y. That's not how life works. We use OODA loop as a framework for making decisions, and then Run/Hide/Fight as well as ALICE to break down the options they have within that framework. The challenge is that as an organization, you can't just put out a message telling people what to do, because YOU DON'T KNOW what they are seeing. So the answer is to upgrade their 'software'. Make decisions efficiently that force a bad actor to react to YOU.... not vice versa.

3. The biggest thing that helps people is showing them how to effectively barricade an area, position themselves tactically, and how to physically confront a shooter the instant they come into the space to they don't have time to collect data and select victims. It's empowering to adults, and we've had excellent feedback.

4. I am extremely pro-gun in my presentations, and point out the hypocrisy of Massachusetts laws as often as I can. I've never had any complaints

5. I don't shoot people with sim guns or airsoft guns. That just creates a feeling of powerlessness and training scars in my opinion. They already know they are behind the 8-ball, and it's pure ego when 'alpha males' run around shooting people to 'show them'.
#3 is key. People like having control. And once you learn how to make a barricade, it’s very reassuring. Much more reassuring than being told to go pray in a corner.
 

KBCraig

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3. The biggest thing that helps people is showing them how to effectively barricade an area, position themselves tactically, and how to physically confront a shooter the instant they come into the space to they don't have time to collect data and select victims. It's empowering to adults, and we've had excellent feedback.
Remind them: the shooter doesn't know what he's going to find behind the door. Don't give him time to evaluate and act. (Like you said, OODA loop.)
 

Picton

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Remind them: the shooter doesn't know what he's going to find behind the door. Don't give him time to evaluate and act. (Like you said, OODA loop.)
The thinking, as presented to us, is that (unsurprisingly to anyone posting on NES) most shooters will prioritize soft targets; as soon as they shoot out a lock and can't budge a barricaded door, they'll be faced with a choice of whether to keep shoving at that same door while they know the cops are making entry and nobody else is dying in the meantime, or just move on to an easier target.

The received wisdom is that the shooter will move to that easier target.
 
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There are already plenty of places where the laws do not prevent teachers, security personnel and in some states anyone with a valid CCW permit to carry a gun in a school. Local policies may differ in these places but there are plenty of places where teachers are allowed to carry. According to the info at the link below, in Alabama, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Utah, anyone with a CCW permit can carry a gun in a school. How often do you hear about firearm related incidents in schools in these states?

Look it up and by the way too many.
 
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Completely untrue on the first part. But then I’m basingthat on actual experience, rather than my own uninformed opinions.
I’ve said it before: reading NESers commenting on schools sometimes reminds me of reading antis commenting on guns. But that’s okay. To each their own.
I'm only going by what I've been told by my relative who has been in the public elementary school system for just over twenty years now and what I've seen and heard when I go to visit.
 

Dench

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I think the older teachers are better equipped to handle an active shooter situation than the young one's. The older teachers may not be as physically fit as younger teachers, but they certainly know how to use what common sense they have better. The younger generation has been brainwashed into calling 911 or to rely on someone else ( the government ) to solve their problems for them.

The concept of shutting off the lights and hiding in the corner waiting for the shooter to use their carnival style sitting duck skills on an entire classroom is pathetic, it should be fight or flight and that's it.
kidz de'z dayz
 

td118

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I grew up in the midwest where we also did tornado drills. To this day i am still traumatized by those drills..... (* note the dripping sarcasm....). I cant believe those tornadoes were allowed to just run around willy nilly with no license...
 

Picton

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I'm only going by what I've been told by my relative who has been in the public elementary school system for just over twenty years now and what I've seen and heard when I go to visit.
Okay. Fair enough. And there's no doubt, as I've said on here a million times, that there are massive differences between high schools and elementary schools.

But I don't intend it as a knock on your relative when I point out that you're only getting a very limited spectrum of what actually goes on, day-to-day, in the public schools. I've been through these drills with my students and my colleagues 2-4 times a year since Sandy Hook. I've seen the protocols evolve in my own building, the TTPs presented to us by the town police, and the schools I've visited for accreditation.

I'm fully aware that that's a limited spectrum, too, but I'll wager good money I've got a great deal more personal experience and training in this area than most of the rest of the NES crowd who love to chime in, anyway.
 
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I told my wife to penny lock the door (for those who never lived in a college dorm, you can pressure lock the door by jamming pennies between the door and jam). Put every desk/chair/junk against the door in the case of an active shooter.

Her school is only one floor, so after doing that, if the shooter is inside, get outside and away from the school. Distance is your friend in an armed encounter when you are unarmed. If you are a 1/4 mile away, no way he's shooting you through a neighborhood, unless he's got an 88 magnum.
 

Picton

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I told my wife to penny lock the door (for those who never lived in a college dorm, you can pressure lock the door by jamming pennies between the door and jam). Put every desk/chair/junk against the door in the case of an active shooter.

Her school is only one floor, so after doing that, if the shooter is inside, get outside and away from the school. Distance is your friend in an armed encounter when you are unarmed. If you are a 1/4 mile away, no way he's shooting you through a neighborhood, unless he's got an 88 magnum.
With respect, she’d be better off bothering her administration until they get her some proper training. There’s a right way to barricade a schoolroom door, and it’s actually much simpler than just stacking things. It’s about friction, not weight.
 
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With respect, she’d be better off bothering her administration until they get her some proper training. There’s a right way to barricade a schoolroom door, and it’s actually much simpler than just stacking things. It’s about friction, not weight.
Look, I'm trained in active shooter. With what she has in the classroom, that's about the best she can do. Short of her carrying against the rules, making the doorway as inaccessible as possible is the best option she has.
 

Roland Deschain

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I told my wife to penny lock the door (for those who never lived in a college dorm, you can pressure lock the door by jamming pennies between the door and jam). Put every desk/chair/junk against the door in the case of an active shooter.

Her school is only one floor, so after doing that, if the shooter is inside, get outside and away from the school. Distance is your friend in an armed encounter when you are unarmed. If you are a 1/4 mile away, no way he's shooting you through a neighborhood, unless he's got an 88 magnum.
I wanted that to work really badly and add it to my toolbox.... but it was useless on every door I tried here at work.
 

Picton

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Look, I'm trained in active shooter. With what she has in the classroom, that's about the best she can do. Short of her carrying against the rules, making the doorway as inaccessible as possible is the best option she has.
I know that. Firsthand.

But she’s generally better off stacking deep, not high. It only takes 3-5 desks to make my door impervious to two young cops throwing themselves at it while it’s ajar.
 

MaverickNH

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IANAT (I Am Not A Teacher) but I work with an organization with active and retired teachers and administrators that advises and trains on school security. People who may or may not be gun people, but who came together to defend schools, staff and students rather than expect laws and signs to stop school mass killings.

They don’t give away gun locks - they give away door stops and bars to prevent doors from opening in or out. Their use is strictly forbidden by fire code but in case of an active attack, who’s going to care? Many teachers keep a door chock in their pocket, purse or desk. Doors that open out are great for fire escape, but not for barricading.

They also train teachers and staff who have interest in how to swarm attackers. Not throw rocks, but physically swarm attackers. That’s the Israeli method. Once the shooting starts, it’s best stopped by armed personnel. But rather than clutching students to shield them with one‘s body from shooters (which only yields dead adults and kids) we teach how to best fight back.

As mentioned above, this is very empowering to some. But only for the willing.
 

Roland Deschain

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Look, I'm trained in active shooter. With what she has in the classroom, that's about the best she can do. Short of her carrying against the rules, making the doorway as inaccessible as possible is the best option she has.
That's not really what he's saying. Stacking stuff in front of door isn't really effective. If door opens in, test out different doorsteps. If it opens out, secure the actuator (make sure its anchored to back or cord will slide off end. OR get a 2x4 and a computer cable... put 2x4 across frame and tie off door handle to it.
 

Picton

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That's not really what he's saying. Stacking stuff in front of door isn't really effective. If door opens in, test out different doorsteps. If it opens out, secure the actuator (make sure its anchored to back or cord will slide off end. OR get a 2x4 and a computer cable... put 2x4 across frame and tie off door handle to it.
This.

Wrapping the actuator, if she has one, is surefire. A simple bar clamp, the small kind, fastened across the actuator? That’s all it takes.

My door doesn’t have an actuator. Dammit.
 
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That's not really what he's saying. Stacking stuff in front of door isn't really effective. If door opens in, test out different doorsteps. If it opens out, secure the actuator (make sure its anchored to back or cord will slide off end. OR get a 2x4 and a computer cable... put 2x4 across frame and tie off door handle to it.
But she’s generally better off stacking deep, not high. It only takes 3-5 desks to make my door impervious to two young cops throwing themselves at it while it’s ajar.

She's in pre-school. The desks barely come up to my knee and weigh nothing. I'm pretty sure the doors open outwards, hence the penny locking thought. I don't think the internal doors even have locks.

I get there's a lot of ways to do something. The school is a 1950s design, maybe 1960s, zero thought put into security. The other problem is the fact it's like a Jack and Jill bathroom setup, even if she 100% nails defending her door, the other teacher would have to do the same in her room. Hence my GTFO if you can mentality, I did tell her to bring the kids with her :p. I'll look into it and see if a stand alone door stop might be more effective than I think it would be based on what she's told me about the door. I think there might be glass involved, I can't remember if it's this classroom or another she was at.

All this is really overthinking a problem that really isn't a problem if you look at the problem as the hysteria dictates. The stand alone, shoot up a school, because it's a school is an extremely rare event. Most of these are gang related, a high percentage are essentially 'domestics' that happen at school, a small percentage are Columbine/Sandyhook type events. Hell, if they'd done more to stop bullying, I'd say the numbers would actually be even lower than they already are.
 

Roland Deschain

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I get there's a lot of ways to do something. The school is a 1950s design, maybe 1960s, zero thought put into security. The other problem is the fact it's like a Jack and Jill bathroom setup, even if she 100% nails defending her door, the other teacher would have to do the same in her room. Hence my GTFO if you can mentality, I did tell her to bring the kids with her :p. I'll look into it and see if a stand alone door stop might be more effective than I think it would be based on what she's told me about the door. I think there might be glass involved, I can't remember if it's this classroom or another she was at.

All this is really overthinking a problem that really isn't a problem if you look at the problem as the hysteria dictates. The stand alone, shoot up a school, because it's a school is an extremely rare event. Most of these are gang related, a high percentage are essentially 'domestics' that happen at school, a small percentage are Columbine/Sandyhook type events. Hell, if they'd done more to stop bullying, I'd say the numbers would actually be even lower than they already are.
I agree.... but what I tell people is that its not the odds... it's the stakes. It's the same reason I carry a gun. The purpose of critical incident training is 2 fold in my mind:
1. Give them actual skills to survive and make decisions no matter what is unfolding in front of them.
2. Give them confidence, peace of mind, and preparedness so they can focus on doing their job.... and not have this garbage taking up real estate.
 
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I agree.... but what I tell people is that its not the odds... it's the stakes. It's the same reason I carry a gun. The purpose of critical incident training is 2 fold in my mind:
1. Give them actual skills to survive and make decisions no matter what is unfolding in front of them.
2. Give them confidence, peace of mind, and preparedness so they can focus on doing their job.... and not have this garbage taking up real estate.
I've been through 4 active shooter schools at this point, (state, various federal), every single one of them has been different. My agency isn't even teaching it anymore from the assault perspective. It's all 'tactics'. Use good tactics and you'll be good in any situation. Had to learn a few more acronyms. I told my wife what would be bad for me as an aggressor, looking for the shooter, figured it would mess up a school shooter as well.

I look at it from the aggressor viewpoint. I've never taught it from the 'victim' standpoint.
 

Roland Deschain

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I look at it from the aggressor viewpoint. I've never taught it from the 'victim' standpoint.
I teach it from both. I think it's important to remember that these people aren't cops.... so that means that we have to 'meet them where they are at'. Some of these folks will embrace the idea of being more self reliant. A lot won't. It's a matter of giving these people a process to make decisions and some simple clear choices. I've been through a bunch of Active Shooter programs as well. ALICE was the best for teaching 'non-combatants' so to speak. I would be interested in going to the RAIDER Solo Engagement program they offer as well.
 
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I teach it from both. I think it's important to remember that these people aren't cops.... so that means that we have to 'meet them where they are at'. Some of these folks will embrace the idea of being more self reliant. A lot won't. It's a matter of giving these people a process to make decisions and some simple clear choices. I've been through a bunch of Active Shooter programs as well. ALICE was the best for teaching 'non-combatants' so to speak. I would be interested in going to the RAIDER Solo Engagement program they offer as well.
I told my wife, it won't sound like a gunshot. It would sound like someone using a hammer, maybe louder depending on where it started. You'll most likely hear screams/running first. If you hear screams, barricade the door. I agree with you/'the they' that you can't teach like to a cop. She has pictures of her classroom from other things, when I looked at the pictures, I told her what I'd do with what she had. The official policy is little more than wait for death to come through the door.
 

Picton

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I teach it from both. I think it's important to remember that these people aren't cops.... so that means that we have to 'meet them where they are at'. Some of these folks will embrace the idea of being more self reliant. A lot won't. It's a matter of giving these people a process to make decisions and some simple clear choices. I've been through a bunch of Active Shooter programs as well. ALICE was the best for teaching 'non-combatants' so to speak. I would be interested in going to the RAIDER Solo Engagement program they offer as well.
Hence, the point I made earlier: decisionmaking and simple clear choices, in terms of school shooters, come slowly to older teachers who remain stuck in the pre-Columbine paradigm in which they started teaching. These are NOT people who got into teaching expecting to ever have to worry about this stuff.

I told my wife, it won't sound like a gunshot. It would sound like someone using a hammer, maybe louder depending on where it started. You'll most likely hear screams/running first. If you hear screams, barricade the door. I agree with you/'the they' that you can't teach like to a cop. She has pictures of her classroom from other things, when I looked at the pictures, I told her what I'd do with what she had. The official policy is little more than wait for death to come through the door.
Try to work to get that policy changed. Our school, along with many others, went to ALICE about four years ago. "Hide and wait" is outdated, as if it was ever a good plan. I think, in my town, that change was driven by the police department and not the school administration. The local police department probably has a lot to do with her school's shooter protocols.
 

KBCraig

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I grew up in the midwest where we also did tornado drills. To this day i am still traumatized by those drills..... (* note the dripping sarcasm....). I cant believe those tornadoes were allowed to just run around willy nilly with no license...
I grew up with tornado drills, in Tornado Alley. And fire drills.

During those tornado and fire drills, no one burst into the room throwing furniture and broken glass and tree limbs, or shooting fire and smoke.

"Children, follow me to the central corridor, sit against the wall, and cover your head." That's not the same thing as "OMG WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!"
 
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