Remembering the Sandy Hook Victims
Religion, economic status, poltical affiliation, gender, age……none of it matters in the face of pain and sadness for those who have lost their lives to gun violence in our schools. Today (12/14/13) marks the anniversary of Sandy Hook tragedy.
Personally, this has weighed heavily on my mind for days if not weeks and I simply cannot think of much else today besides the sheer sadness and loss of those precious lives. No, I did not know any of those children. But, I need not have to known them to feel tremendous pain and suffering about this loss.
I am a parent. I have a Kindergartner. It could have been any one of our children on any day in Any City, USA. It just happened to have been the children of Sandy Hook.
Sandy Hook, and incidents like it, serve as a constant reminder for all of us to hug our children tighter and to be kind to others, every single day.
But for the grace of god, my child is safe and my school has been violence free. I pray this continues.
In the meantime, I feel so powerless.
Feeling powerless makes me feel fearful and, in some ways, vulnerable. I want to protect my child! What can I do?
There is no finite answer.
But, to combat that fear and feeling of vulnerability, I choose to educate myself and arm myself with knowledge. I do what I can to serve my school district and our community to facilitate safety measures and to prevent violence in our schools. I serve on the District Safety Team. I have chosen to channel my feelings into research and advocating to help implement policies and plans that lead to safer schools.
Thus, in this post I share some of that research. You can read some prior info about school safety here: http://wp.me/p44iDJ-6Q
The news about Colorado school shooting today on the eve of Sandy Hook Promise anniversary tomorrow, just so upsetting and sad- too much to bear.
These incidents give great meaning and sentiment to words from Rachel Scott Joy, young victim of Columbine, who gave the folowing sage advice clearly beyond her tender age in years:
“Tomorrow is not a promise, but a chance.”
2 mothers of children killed in Sandy Hook joined forces with 4 other victims families to form Safe and Sound, an initiative designed to povide school safety to districts particularly those short of funds.
Run, Hide Fight!!
Is the new mantra advanced by safety professionals for schools to implement in a post Sandy Hook era.
While all schools are required by the state and the federal government to have safety plans, schools are not required to adopt the “run, hide, fight” protocol, which was issued as a guideline. But, many are reccommending that is hould be implemented in schools too.
“Understandably, this is a sensitive topic,” notes the guide. “There is no single answer for what to do, but a survival mindset can increase the odds of surviving.”
Traditional school safety techniques had students huddling in locked classrooms and waiting for rescue if danger approached during school hours. But tragic lessons in Newtown, Conn., and Columbine, Colo., have given rise to new recommendations from the U.S. Department of Education for keeping students safe: Run away and hide, they say. Or if you have to, fight. It has its pros and cons.
The new school safety protocol for staff and students is “Run, Hide, Fight,” a major shift from the static classroom lockdowns campuses have followed for years. The procedure asks teachers and staff to take a more assertive role in trying to survive the unlikely event of an “active shooter” situation on campus.
The lifesaving tips include:
-Run if a safe path is available. Always try to escape or evacuate even if others insist on staying.
-If you can’t get out safely, find a place to hide.
-When hiding, turn out lights, remember to lock doors and silence your ringer and vibration mode on your cellphone.
– As a last resort, working together or alone, act with aggression, use improvised weapons and fight.
The idea is that instead of being passive and being executed, be active and perhaps save your own life and the lives of others. But how do children do that, is my question? Arent they the ones that need to be protected?
This is very controversial but it has its pros and cons and deserves some consideration in light of recent events. Talk to your district about its safety plan. Understandably, they cannot provide details but its good to be aware of the general plans and what to do.
Those precious children who inspire parents to hold our kids tight and say “I Love You” just a little more each day are:
New York State recieved an A- regarding gun laws from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Here is the 2013 Gun Laws Report:
Here are some more resources that you may find helpful concerning school safety:
Congressional Research Service SRO Report 2013
Children’s Safety Network Resource Guide 2013
The FEMA Guide Run, HIde, Fight!
CNN Video – discussing School Safety and MUCH NEEDED GRANTS FOR SROs in SCHOOL
Houston’s Run Fight Hide video promo:
Campus Security Analysis of Run Fight Hide
More on “Run, Hide, Fight!”
The Department of Education changed its guidance on “active shooter” training this summer, citing a study of 41 active shooter incidents that found adults were able to stop a shooter 13 of those times by physically restraining him. (The department stresses that it should not be in any teacher’s job description to launch a counterattack against a gunman.)
“There are three basic options: run, hide, or fight,” the department’s new guidance says. “You can run away from the shooter, seek a secure place where you can hide and/or deny the shooter access, or incapacitate the shooter to survive and protect others from harm.” http://policeforum.org/library/critical-issues-in-policing-series/Blair-UnitedStatesActiveShooterEventsfrom2000to2010Report-Final.pdf
US Active Shooter School Violence At a Glance
FBI Active Shooter reference Guide, pocket size
What Makes SChool Safe?
NYSSBA on School Safety, A Comprehensive Plan
Mental Health Issues Need to be Addressed to Prevent Violence in School
Department of Homeland Sec. Lessons Learned Initiative for School Safety
Gun VIolence in Schools/Against Kids
NSBA and NYSSBA on School Safety
Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court NYS Unified Courts
Guide for Preventing School Violence
A Year After Sandy Hook, Our Kids are Still Dying from Guns Video, AAP
New England Journal of Medicine, Preventing Gun Deaths in Children
Post Sandy Hook Strategies to Keep Safe
In other safety news, type in your address or school address and see where the sex offenders live (registered, that is) in our community. https://www.crimereports.com/