Focusing on lessons learned from Active Shooter Attacks
Week 7 – January 23, 2020
Four short months after the Parkland Florida School shooting another attacker shot and killed ten innocent people at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas on May 18th, 2018. Angelique Ramirez lost her life during the Santa Fe shooting. Her family and friends affectionately referred to her as “Sister Love” because she was kind, nurturing, and devoted to her family. She was a proud sister who was very protective of her brother and loved him very much. Angelique was full of life, had a contagious smile and her favorite color was rainbow. At Ramirez’s funeral many attendees decorated their clothes with rainbows in memory of her bright and cheerful demeanor.
Expert Advice of the Week: Metal Detectors
Many times, after a shooting has occurred in a school, the topic of installing metal detectors is brought up by the parents, media, and the community. What is typically not discussed are the many considerations that need to be made regarding metal detectors in schools. Because of this, metal detectors do not offer a guarantee to stop an active shooter incident from happening at that school. Actually, no one solution will end the story of active shooter. Before you engage in a debate over the philosophical or financial aspects of metal detectors in schools, careful thought must be put into the following:
– Will the school provide them at ALL student entrances AND your single point of entry for guests and visitors?
– A law enforcement professional and/or a School Resource Officer need to be posted at each. If a student was to present a weapon before the detector, immediate action is required from the armed SRO. Will this assigned person be posted all day for students and visitors arriving throughout the day? Will there be continual training?
– What is the time required for each student to go through them at your school? (10 secs on average per individual). This could also expose the masses of students waiting in line(s) to an attack, as well as disrupting schedules.
– Will they be used only in the morning, or for after-school events as well?
– They provide no protection for students on school grounds or those riding on school buses.
– How will districts provide spot inspections to ensure the metal detector (and posted law enforcement professional effective?
– How will schools ensure that weapons cannot be passed through windows or entry/egress doors around the perimeter of the building?
After you have made these careful considerations, you can now decide if metal detectors will be practical and completely effective for your school. The cost associated with metal detectors can more closely reflect the actual cost. Metal detectors without proper planning can and will be circumvented.
Unknown Shooting of the Week
Lesson Learned from the Santa Fe Tragedy:
On May 18th 2018, a student wearing a trench coat entered his art class at Santa Fe High School, Texas and began firing a shotgun into the room. The attacker had been wearing a trench coat all year which was an unusual choice of wardrobe during the hotter Texas months. A major misstep that day was when a teacher pulled the fire alarm in attempt to alert the school that there was an active shooter. This caused students to exit their rooms and go into the hallways. Students later revealed that they were not aware someone was shooting inside the school and assumed it was a fire or a fire drill and evacuated the building. This exposed more students and staff by placing them in the hallway while the shooting was taking place.