Computer Simulator Analyzes Active Shooter Survival Strategies

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Researchers at the Purdue Homeland Security Institute recently tested the efficacy of options-based active shooter responses (commonly known as: Run. Hide. Fight. ®) by applying them to a computer simulation. The research team built controls into the simulation and utilized the Columbine High School library (including the actual locations of the victims and shooters during the incident) as a model for the test.

Researchers ran several different individual responses through the simulation and found that hiding was the most dangerous type of response, and led to the highest rate of casualties. When the responses of run and fight were implemented, there were far fewer casualties. As an individual survival strategy, physical resistance (“fight” or “overcome”) was by far the most effective response. When all three responses (run, hide, fight) were initiated based on the proximity of the shooter/s to the potential victim, survival rates were higher than individual responses.

Key Learning Points:

  • Options-based responses are more effective than individual responses during an active shooter incident.
  • Most students (especially younger students) are only taught to “lock down” or “shelter in place” during an active shooter situation. This is not always the best response, and can lead to higher casualty rates in certain scenarios.
  • The H.E.R.O. concepts – HIDE! ESCAPE! RUN! OVERCOME! – are options-based responses presented to students in an age-appropriate context. Students as young as kindergarten can learn these responses without being traumatized and stay safer during a violent incident.

Middle School Student Shot at Basketball Competition

Middle School Student Shot at Basketball Competition

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On Friday, June 21st at approximately 7:30 p.m., a fight broke out at a basketball competition being held at Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint, Michigan. According to reports, “hundreds” of visitors were present in the gymnasium when a major fight – involving approximately 70 people – erupted and spilled out into a parking lot. Amidst the ensuing chaos, 15-year-old Eithan Williams was struck once in the chest by gunfire. Several vehicles were hit as students fled the shooting. Eithan Williams was initially listed in critical condition but is now expected to make a full recovery. Four juveniles were arrested in connection with the shooting.

Key Learning Points

  • Although this shooting did not occur during school hours, students of various ages were involved.
  • At the time of the shooting, a student musical was being held in the school’s theater. Students and attendees were affected by this incident and were forced to react accordingly.
  • The gym was rented from the high school by an organization hosting a basketball competition. If applicable, ensure that your facility rental agreements address security concerns and are not sources of potential conflict.
  • Two police officers (hired as event security) were present at the basketball competition. Review your school safety plan and ensure sufficient security and crowd control measures are in place.

U.S. Department of Education Releases New Grant Opportunities

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In accordance with the recommendations of the Federal Commission on School Safety: Final Report, the U.S. Department of Education has released three grant competitions to bolster school safety initiatives. The following is a brief overview of each grant opportunity:

  1. Project Prevent Grant Program: Allocates $10 million to provide mental health services for trauma or anxiety; support conflict resolution programs, and implement other school-based violence prevention strategies. The deadline to apply is July 15, 2019.
  2. School Climate Transformation Grant Program: Allocates $40 million to develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for schools implementing learning conditions that promote positive school culture for all students. The deadline to apply is July 22, 2019.
  3. Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant Program: Allocates $15 million to promote collaboration between colleges or universities and high-need school districts to expand the pipeline of trained school-based mental health services providers. The deadline to apply is August 5, 2019.

For more information on the above-mentioned grant opportunities, click here to be directed to the U.S. Department of Education.