On May 1, an article ran on Huffington Post about a charter school in Oregonthat had a “live action” drill for their teachers while students were out for the day. Two masked men with handguns burst into the building and began firing at random. This event must have been terrifying!
There were several outraged readers posting comments about teachers possibly having heart attacks or asthma attacks, one person even cited the fact that should a teacher have had concealed weapon, there may have been return fire with live rounds. All of these concerns are genuine, but one thing I noted in the article was that these teachers had just concluded several weeks of training to handle such an event. Does this still make it terrifying? Absolutely. Does this make it uncalled for and excessive? I don’t think so. If the teachers did nothing but scream and panic, perhaps the success of the training needs to be addressed. Isn’t that the point of training, to be prepared and have a plan in the case of such a terrible event? Unfortunately the article didn’t go into detail regarding the response of the teachers or how the event was resolved. These things I would have liked to have known.
A few of the folks posting comments stated that the teachers should have been informed before it took place. I’m sorry, do bad guys give notice? Not in most cases. When I was in college (a few years back) I had a great criminal justice professor who harped on us for how little we really observe in our surrounding area. As an example, one day he had a clown burst into the lecture hall and run through the aisle, only to disappear out of the side door. Upon completion of this strange act, we had to jot down five things we could recall: We all just saw it together, right? What direction did he come from? What was he wearing? What was his height and weight? Ninety percent of us got at least two or three pieces of information completely wrong (color of outfit, details of his face). This was startling.
Now he had the clown come through again, this time we were given a heads up. Most of us only got one bit of info wrong, but the problem was were posed to stare and take notes. That doesn’t happen in an emergency and that’s what training is supposed to help prepare you for, right?
I am very pleased with the changes at our area elementary schools. Doors are locked at 7:30 a.m.and in order to access the building you must be seen in the camera by office staff and buzzed inside. I have also seen the Pender County Sheriff’s deputy (who the kids were fascinated with). He was becoming part of their group and they seemed to welcome him with wide eyes and lots of questions. As a parent I feel that this is a great big step in the right direction.
Remember knowledge is power. Always strive toward knowing more and guessing less.
Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.