In response to the Newtown, Conn. massacre and a host of school shootings in recent years, the Obama administration released a 67-page report on emergency planning this summer that includes several pages advising educators on how to manage “an active shooter situation.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s “live-shooter” section doesn’t recommend that schools arm teachers or employ armed guards. It doesn’t even advise schools to add door locks for classrooms.
Instead, the section counsels teachers and students to “run,” “hide” and then “fight”—but only “if neither running nor hiding is a safe option.”
Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education and the uppermost name on the report, does not explain how this guidance differs from the very unsuccessful actions attempted by the 26 victims of Adam Lanza, the lone gunman who attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Twenty of those victims were children who were six and seven years old.
As students across the nation head back to school this fall, administrators are trying to put systems in place to keep students safe in the event of another gunman running amok on campus.
A number of principals in the Los Angeles Unified School District participated in “live-shooter training” this summer, reports the Los Angeles Daily News. They will transmit what they learned in the training with teachers in the next few weeks.
What did they learn? That’s some kind of closely-held secret, apparently. Steve Zipperman, a retired LAPD captain who now runs the LAUSD police force, would only tell the Daily News that school officials have been trained in “how to decide in the moment how to save as many lives as possible” when “a traditional lockdown may not be the most appropriate decision.”
Zipperman also suggested that he disagrees with some of the Department of Education’s recommendations because, he asserts, they won’t work in K-12 settings. However, he did not elaborate further.
Judith Perez, president of Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, noted that Los Angeles Unified must now decide if it’s going to install locks on classroom doors that lock from inside each classroom, noted the Daily News.
The Department of Education’s “run-and-hide” recommendations go into substantial detail about proper form when running and hiding from someone with a loaded gun.
“The first course of action that should be taken is to run out of the building and far away until you are in a safe location,” the Obama administration document suggests.
“Leave personal belongings behind,” it helpfully adds. “Avoid escalators and elevators.”
If students can’t run, the Department of Education suggests that they “hide” instead “in as safe a place as possible.” Students should “silence all electronic devices” and “remain silent.”
The “live-shooter” section advises fighting a shooter only as a last resort, with fire extinguishers, perhaps, or chairs.
The “live-shooter” section of the report notes that “victims stopped the attacker themselves in 16 instances” — out of the 41 studied — in which some wacko or group of wackos was attacking people. “In 13 of those cases they physically subdued the attacker.”
The report does not say how many, if any, attempts were made to stop the attack in the remaining 25 incidents, or how many of those attempts failed.
The Obama administration report also takes pains to clarify that school employees have no duty whatsoever to physically protect students in the event of a school shooting.
“To be clear, confronting an active shooter should never be a requirement in any school employee’s job description,” it states emphatically.