Embrace the World of Technology for the Safety of Our Students [UPDATED]If you worry that our beloved country and our children are increasingly under attack, you are right. The violence inflicted upon our children in our schools is unthinkable, yet it happens at an alarming rate. Did you know, not a single child has been killed by a school fire in the U.S. in over half a century because of safety measures and protocol? Yet, in 2019 alone, according to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, there were 111 shootings near or on schools – 49 during the school day and 62 before/after school hours. Where is the safety protocol and federally unified program, like the one for fire emergencies, to mitigate school shootings and violence? That in itself is a crime – especially when easy-to-use technology exists to significantly reduce response times and save lives. It’s time to embrace the world of technology for the safety of our students.
Studies Confirm More School Homicides AnnuallyThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that the incidence of mass homicides on school campuses has risen steeply in recent years. “During the 2017-2018 school year, guns were much more likely to be used in ‘multiple-victim’ school homicides and nearly a quarter of school homicide victims were between 5 and 9 years old.” Ninety-five percent of fatalities are from gunshots. When was the last time your child went outside to play hide-n-seek or swung from a rope, maybe climbed a tree? Our children now live in a world of violence that makes them numb to the humanness of death and continues to be a factor in the epidemic of violence we are seeing in our schools.
The Trend Upward in School KillersThe 2018 edition of Indicators of School Crime and Safety by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, thoroughly assessed school and child violence and published statistics explaining why there will most likely be a continuation of these incidences. For instance, in 2017, about 16% of students in grades 9–12 reported that they had carried a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club at least 1 day during the previous 30 days. They also reported:
- From 2000 to 2017, there were 153 casualties in active shooter incidents at elementary and secondary schools, and 143 casualties in active shooter incidents at postsecondary institutions.
- In 2016, about 28,400 criminal incidents on campuses at postsecondary institutions were reported to police and security agencies, representing a 3% increase from 2015.
Preparation for Domestic TerrorismOur country’s most common act of domestic terrorism has been coined “active shooter” or what is really an “active killer.” These senseless acts of violence continue to crumble the foundation of our nation as we see these incidents grow every year. Every time there is another school shooting, there is outrage and more discussion about the prevention of these crimes, however, the key issue is not simply “prevention” but rather “preparation” for when the next one occurs, because it will. Preparation in the form of active shooter protocol and a practiced safety procedure with mock drills – just like tornado drills and fire drills – is essential to saving lives and preventing these horrors. As previously mentioned, not one child has been killed in our country from a K-12 school fire in over 50 years, yet there have been hundreds of kids killed and thousands injured due to school violence over the past decade! There are building codes, emergency signs, safety plans, specific construction, and federal mandates to prevent fatalities when it comes to a school fire – where are these same considerations for active killer and domestic terrorism in our schools? We need to focus this same preparedness concept toward school violence. And we must do it NOW. Not next year when the budget allows, not after everyone “agrees” with the proposed plan. Now. This week. Every time there is another shooting, it is a wake-up call – one we have seen time and time again – and it CAN happen anywhere! ALL schools MUST be prepared for an act of terrorism and they MUST act quickly when faced with it. Denial is a “save now, pay later scheme.” Schools that continue to be in denial must realize it is not a matter of “if” they will face an active killer or an attempt of mass violence, but rather “when.”
Expedite Tactical, Notification, Response TimesEver since the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, law enforcement agencies have changed their response to active killer threats. They now understand there is no time to waste negotiating with an “active mass murderer” as the killer has one thing in mind: to kill and injure as many people as he or she can quickly (like a video game where they receive points for each kill on their rampage). They must get to the scene and act immediately to take the killer down. Fortunately, there is a way to alert law enforcement much faster and reduce the tactical time, notification time, and response times so they can do just that – Guard911® and Hero911®.
- Tactical Time: the time for a victim or witness to realize what is happening and call 911 – 5-7 minutes.
- Notification Time: the time for a 911 call to be processed and first responders dispatched – 4-11 minutes.
- Response Time: the time for a first responder to be on the scene and act – 4-18 minutes.