Focusing on lessons learned from Active Shooter Attacks

Week 12 – February 27, 2020

Jacob Ryker

Jacob Ryker has always been known for putting others first and on his 17thbirthday, he proved it to be true by risking his life to save his classmates. When an active shooter began shooting students in the Thurston High School cafeteria on the morning of May 21, 1998, Jacob and his girlfriend were shot almost immediately. Despite taking a bullet that pierced his lung, Ryker garnered the strength to tackle the shooter who had momentarily run out of ammunition. As Jacob struggled to take the rifle, the shooter pulled out a 9-millimeter handgun and fired a round, striking Jacob’s left index finger. At that moment, several other boys including Jacob’s brother subdued the gunman. Sadly, two students were killed and 25 others were injured, but Jacob’s heroic actions saved the many other students in the school.

Expert Advice of the Week: Access Control

What the Experts Say:
*Safety Debrief Minute utilizes industry subject matter experts

Access Control

Access control can be defined as a means of securing the perimeter of your school, at every point of entry. Not only will access control keep potential attackers or criminals out of your building, but it also creates an additional layer of security and sets the tone for your overall security efforts. As we have seen in previous active shooter attacks in schools, entries have been a major point of vulnerability. Access control systems are a fundamental component of a comprehensive school security plan and should be used in concert with other security features. They also help maintain the balance between having a welcoming school environment and a building that is secure from intruders.
Creating a clear, well-defined single point-of-entry for all guests and visitors is one method of access control however, many additional security features need to be considered (at every entry point). The following are some considerations that should be made regarding access control at your school:

  • Single point of entry
  • Electronic access control at each entry point with card readers and keypads
  • Interconnected IP security cameras
  • Door ajar alarms and door position switches
  • Proper signage
  • The ability to quickly address security issues at entry points through constant monitoring and remote access
  • Using shooter attack certified film or glass at every entry point
  • Having all perimeter doors locked 24/7

Lesson Learned from the Thurston High School Tragedy

Unknown Shooting of the Week and Lessons Learned
Thurston High School

Not even a full year before the Columbine shooting, an expelled student walked onto the school grounds of Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon and shot two rounds from his dad’s rifle, killing one student in the patio area. He then entered the school and headed to the packed cafeteria where approximately 350 students were eating and fired 48 rounds into the crowd. A total of 25 students were injured and two were killed and it was later discovered he had killed his parents at their home before heading to Thurston. This shooting could have been prevented if the perimeter of the school grounds had been secured. An expelled student should not be able to enter an unlocked cafeteria door while carrying two knives, a rifle, a Glock 19 pistol, a .22-caliber pistol, and 1,127 rounds of ammunition underneath a trench coat. If the school had security measures in place, such as locking perimeter doors, single entry points, or alarms, it’s possible the injuries would have been less. Luckily, the students were able to subdue the shooter which prevented him from killing or injuring more of his peers.

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