Some schools are teaching students and staff to defend themselves against an intruder, reports Education Week.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s school safety plan includes self-defense: “Staff and students may utilize methods to distract the shooter/intruder’s ability to accurately shoot or cause harm, such as loud noises or aiming and throwing objects at the shooter/intruder’s face or person.”
Response Options, a Texas-based company, was started after the 1999 Columbine killings. Greg Crane, a police officer, asked his wife Lisa, an elementary school principal, what she’d have done.
“I said ‘We have code red—a typical lockdown. I put out a code red, we get in the classroom, shut out the light, and then we wait for you’,” she remembers telling her husband. He was incredulous. How would such a lockdown work in the cafeteria or when children were outside? And what if students and staff members found themselves sequestered with a shooter? “I said ‘I don’t know. This is all they’ve ever told us.'”
The couple devised ALICE training, as in “ALert, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.” They teach everything from how to barricade doors with whatever furniture can be moved—and putting castors on some pieces in advance of an emergency if necessary. Evacuating and getting students out of harm’s way are the ultimate solutions, Lisa Crane said.
“The ‘C’ [counter] is the most controversial,” she said. “But if you make yourself a hard target, you have a real good chance of gaining back control of a situation or getting out.”
Students in junior high and high school can throw objects at shooters, move around and make noise, the Cranes advise. “And schools can choose to teach students and staff to swarm a shooter, grabbing hold of the person’s extremities and using body weight to immobilize them,” reports Ed Week.
Cowering isn’t always effective.