There’s no question the country was heavily impacted by the Newtown Connecticut shooting in December. Much like how 9/11 transformed how we travel, schools are stepping up their safety precautions more now than ever before. They are quicker to call the authorities and have taught their students what to do in the case of a lockdown. Let’s take a look at what happened in Orange County, California as an example of how schools respond to a threat of violence to avoid another Sandy Hook.
On February 15, a father entered Estancia High School with the intention of checking his son out of school. The one problem was that there was a restraining order against him by the family. When the vice-principal told the father this information, the father became violent and started shoving the vice-principal. He then pulled out what looked to be a pistol. From there, a security guard saw what was going on and ran along the many hallways in the school, telling students to take cover, and a lockdown ensued. The lockdown wasn’t lifted until police came and determined the man’s pistol was a BB gun.
To this effect, students, teachers and administration were aware of a possible threat and did what was necessary to ensure safety. They did not lift the lockdown until they knew the threat was gone. This just goes to show what administration, teachers and authorities must do now to prevent violence in the school, a place that students and teachers should feel safe. With that in mind, let’s take a small look at what schools are doing to ensure safety.
Hiring More Guards: Part of the reason why this incident ended so successfully was because of the presence of the security guard. He was able to see what was going on and alert students and teachers of the gun. Security guards also act as a deterrent for individuals to not bring guns or other weapons in the school by their mere presence.
Being Aware of Lockdown Drills: Much like fire drills, lockdown drills are commonplace in schools today to teach children what to do in the case of a threat. Many schools also use signs with programmable LED display to alert parents and community members that the school is on lockdown for added security and transparency.
Encouraging Students to Step Up: In addition to lockdown drills, teachers and administration are also encouraging students to be vigilant against violence. If they hear or witness anything (such as bullying in the hallways or a FB post), they are asked to come forward with any information to ensure that the school remains a place removed from violence.
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