Today, following a shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 27 elementary school students and staffers dead, Dallas ISD police chief Craig Miller spoke to the media about safety in Dallas schools, stating that the events in Connecticut could influence the way they do things here. “We will learn from what took place there in Connecticut. We’ll make improvements as a result of that,” he said.
Superintendent Mike Miles offered this statement: “We are obviously monitoring today’s events to determine what additional safety measures can be put in place, especially in our elementary schools. There will need to be a significant discussion in our community, as well as every community, to decide how best to protect our children.”
This is good, but a little unsettling to me. Shouldn’t we already have every safety measure as well as a plan of action in place already? Mass school shootings have happened 12 times in recent history. (That is according to Mother Jones’ in-depth chronology of mass shootings in modern America.)
In another statement: DISD’s director of counseling services has confirmed that “school counselors will be available next week to talk to students and parents as needed. PTAs may request counselors to talk to parents about grief counseling.”
Again, nothing would more likely assuage these children’s fears than the assurance that their school has a plan of action should someone with violent intentions enter their campus. If they received clear instructions on how they should deal with such a situation, it would probably ease their anxieties.
Miller, during today’s press conference, did note that there are two drills a year and that police perform shooter drills in empty school buildings during summer and holiday breaks. DISD high schools and junior highs are equipped with electronic security devices.
As they take a look at possible improvements, I’d like to draw their attention to the Fort Worth ISD, where a crisis plan is more clearly outlined.
Alternative training for students: a good idea or not?
Recently, but months before today’s tragedy, I listened to this report on NPR about a controversial program geared to teach kids to stand up for themselves in the event of a school shooting.
Proponents of the A.L.i.C.E. training plan (which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate) say traditional strategies might make students sitting ducks for a gunman. Opponents say the tactics encouraged by A.L.i.C.E., which include empowering kids to make tough decisions including fighting back, barricading doors and running are dangerous themselves. They don’t want their kid leading the charge against a killer, the opponents say.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.