1 In 3 Parents Fear Sending Kids to School
In a poll released on July 17th, PDK International reported a third of parents surveyed feared for their children’s safety at school. This statistic has tripled – from 12% to 34% – since the last similar poll was conducted five years ago. Additionally, this same poll reported that 63% of parents did not support arming teachers and that the overwhelming majority of parents – 76% percent – preferred money to be spent on mental health services instead of armed school resource officers. It’s important to remember this poll was completed before the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas.
While it’s easy to dismiss the fears of parents, it’s far more productive to address these fears. After all, if parents are afraid, it’s highly likely they are passing these fears on to their children. A healthy school ecosystem should be built on the bedrock of a safe learning environment, as evidenced by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – one cannot learn unless one feels safe. If there is a pervasive culture of fear in your school, it’s critical to address this fear and empower your school community – and that’s where H.E.R.O. can help! Click here to find out how the H.E.R.O. Program significantly reduced the fears of teachers and students during a 20,000-student pilot study conducted earlier this year.
Key Learning points
- A third of parents surveyed feared for the safety of their children in schools
- Reported fears have tripled in the last five years
- 63% of parents did not support arming teachers
- 76% of parents preferred spending on mental health as opposed to armed officers
- Preferences of parents were influenced by political party affiliation
- Preferences of parents were influenced by socio-economic and geographic factors – fears were highest (40%) among urban parents and lowest (18%) among rural parents
- It’s important to be aware of the political affiliations and socio-economic standing of your school community when deciding how to address violence on campus
- Students have a difficult time learning when they don’t feel safe
Accomplice Charged in School Shooting “Planning” Robbery
An 18-year-old was ordered to serve two years in a Washington jail for robbing a liquor store with a would-be school shooter. Both suspects were arrested in February after the primary suspect’s grandmother reported finding concerning journal entries and a semiautomatic rifle in her grandson’s bedroom. Police officers searched the primary suspect’s bedroom and located an AK-47 rifle and detailed journal entries about his plans to commit a mass shooting and bombing at one of two high schools he previously attended. According to authorities, the primary suspect’s accomplice was unaware of his plot to engage in a school shooting.
Key Learning Points:
- The vast majority of active shooters plan their attacks in advance
- Would-be active shooters often enlist knowing and unknowing accomplices during the planning phase
- Active shooters often keep detailed records of their plan/s in journals and other formats
- As active shooters move closer to carrying out an attack, they typically engage in risky behavior (such as thefts, robberies, and burglaries) to acquire last-minute items
Can Active Shooter Drills Do More Harm than Good?
Take a moment to click on the story details above. There’s a five-minute video demonstrating one approach to active shooter training in a preschool, and if you’re anything like us, you may be shocked to see a grown man firing a real gun (loaded with blanks) inches from the faces of staff and students.
While we certainly recognize the value of training and preparation when it comes to surviving violent intruder situations, we are keenly aware of the psychological trauma that can be caused to both students and staff when conducting an active shooter drill or scenario. By conducting “Lockdown” drills without providing any context, young children become naturally curious and fearful. Similarly, when conducting hyper-realistic drills and scenarios with older children, it may trigger dormant traumatic memories or even create new ones. Similarly, adults can be triggered by these same drills and worker’s compensation issues can arise.
When we set out to create the H.E.R.O. Program, we endeavored to create a program that could teach children and adults how to survive violence without exposing them to undue psychological harm. The H.E.R.O. Program was vetted by school psychologists and was proven to empower both students and teachers while providing them with critical life-saving strategies. We recently released the H.E.R.O. Program Pilot Study Report, an exhaustive academic study that proves the efficacy of the H.E.R.O. Program and the methods employed by Safe Kids Inc. in relation to violent intruder survivability.
Key Learning Points
- Hyper-realistic active shooter training can emotionally scar students and staff
- Human resources complaints and psychological or physical worker’s compensation issues can arise during aggressive training sessions
- Drills (including Lockdown) should be conducted in context, never a “cold” or surprise drill
- By telling young students drills are “games,” we are misinforming them and leaving them unprepared and fearful
- Students and teachers should feel empowered by training, not victimized or belittled
- Students learn best from their own teachers, not outside instructors
- Educators learn best from instructors who speak their own “language” and are familiar with their needs and concerns