Focusing on lessons learned from Active Shooter Attacks

Week 3 – December 12, 2019

Scott Beigel

On February 14th, 2018 a former student armed with a semi-automatic rifle stepped inside building 12 on the campus of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida and shoot and kill 17 people. Beloved Social Science teacher and cross-country coach Scott Beigel died in his classroom doorway while trying to hold open the door to let his students back inside. His classroom was located on the third floor which ended up being a chaotic scene due to the fire alarm sounding off. People on the 3rd floor were not aware that there was a shooter in the building until it was too late. Beigel sacrificed his life to save his students.

Life Openings

The shooter at Stoneman Douglas High School was able to easily enter the building because the back door was unlocked and there were no security measures taken to prevent intruders from entering the school. The majority of active shooters in a school setting have come in through the main entrance of the building. A “Life Opening” refers to a door, door glass, vision lite kit, lock, frame, hinges and adjoining glass. Over 99% of attackers have entered schools through the Life Opening.  Life Openings need to be hardened and reinforced to create secure entrances that through design can stop or slow down an attacker and ultimately save lives.


Three main components of a Life Opening:

  1. Quality lock that can be locked from inside without a key
  2. A Vision lite kit with through bolts
  3. Shooter Attack Certified Glass or Film

Lesson Learned from the Parkland Tragedy:

The horrific tragedy of the Parkland shooting sadly revealed the need for all buildings on a campus to be locked and secure at all times. If the back door of building 12 was simply locked the shooter would not have been able to enter building 12. Convenience can cost lives. Be sure to keep all exterior school doors locked and harden your life openings .

Safety Debrief Sponsors