Sadly, we’re living in a new normal, where mass shootings are in the news regularly. Incidents like the shooting in Newtown or the recent attack in Parkland seem to be happening more often. We should not only think about this, we should actively plan for it. With a new school year kicking off, here are some tips you can share with your kids to help keep them informed and prepared for an active shooter incident at their school.
* Since 2013, there have been at least 196 school related shootings in America. Very few of these are mass shooters. Most are accidents, spill over from neighboring communities, or personal disputes between colleagues or students. This is an average of nearly 1 shooting, in or around a school, a week!
Here are our recommended 5 Steps to teach your kids in the event of an active shooter situation:
1. Run. Hide. Fight: Provide them basic, easy to remember sayings. In the event of an attack, it is important to have a call to action.
2. If you see something; SAY SOMETHING: As we go about our daily lives, one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to be unaware of our environment. We must try and notice if something is out of the ordinary. Ask your kids questions about their friends, how everyone is doing and if they feel like anyone may pose a threat.
3. Make sure your child understands school protocol: If your school does have a response plan, make sure your kids understand it and know their role in ensuring their own safety.
4. Avoid boxed in spaces: places like bathrooms, conference rooms, and movie theaters with limited options for escape. Anytime there’s a confined space, get out of there. Bathrooms are horrible; they don’t usually have windows and there’s nothing in there that’s going to stop a bullet. Another tip: Stay out of doorways.
5. Recognize that you can make a difference: Be active in your child’s school. Create partnerships with teachers and rule makers to create and implement plans to mitigate risk. Schools often won’t make changes unless they are feeling pressure to do so. Ensure your child’s school is prepared for the worst.