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OR Shooting Triggers Gun Violence Trend Questions

TROUTDALE, OR - He was armed with a military-style rifle and a semi-automatic pistol, both taken from his home. 15-year old Jared Michael Padgett shot himself after shooting fellow classmate, 14-year old Emilio Hoffman, at an Oregon high school Tuesday. A physical education teacher, 50-year old Todd Rispler, is the unsung hero. According to police, after being grazed by a bullet, he made it to the administrative school office where he initiated a school-wide lockdown, starting the campus security procedures, likely saving hundreds of young lives.

After this tragic shooting, Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to end gun violence started by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, released shocking statistics that paint a violent theme in American classrooms. The group reports 74 gun-related incidents in the past 18 months – beginning with the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. How are parents not weighted with concern knowing that on average there is one incident of gun-related violence at an American school each week?

Security Consultant and Founder at PVF, Patrick V. Fiel, Sr. recently gave a presentation teaching Education Security Executives about procedures in an active shooter scenario at the Education & Healthcare Security Forum. Fiel emphasizes the run, hide, fight strategy.

During a school shooting, which typically lasts just 10 to 15 minutes, victims have three options – to run if they can reasonably escape the shooter, hide if they can find a safe place, and if there are no other options, team together all forces and resources to fight back.

This strategy is a responsive one, however. Without proactive measures and practiced training procedures – there is room for crisis.

“There are only two types of school administrators; those who have faced a crisis and those who are about to!”

–Ron Stephens, Executive Director, National School Safety Center

Below is just a brief overview of the four phases of crisis management:

  1. Prevention: Addresses what schools and districts can do to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property. 
    Several strategies for prevention include: making the target less attractive and deterring criminal activity. For example, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the school had implemented an egress system, however the shooter simply shot through the adjacent window making the prevention methods superficial. Also, consult a third party risk assessment. An expert will be able to detect potential hazards and holes in the plan. During Fiel’s presentation, he explains a shooter’s mentality as robotic – a rational person will not be able to foresee his or her next move, therefore an expert is well worth the money and time.
  2. Preparedness: Focuses on the process of planning for the worst case scenario. Develop procedures and policies for high pressure scenarios.
    Train staff on how to react and implement these curriculums and make methods known to students and parents. Implement an Incident Command System (ICS). This is a structured way to organize responsibilities among school officials and all emergency responders during crisis response. Emergency Responders use ICS to manage incidents. Schools should also consult with the district as a whole to uniform reaction and preparedness.
  3. Response: Devoted to the steps to take during a crisis.
    This is the time to follow the crisis plan that has been reinforced through repetitive training, practice and drills school wide. Students should know how to react and teachers should know how to communicate during a crisis.
  4. Recovery: How to restore the learning and teaching environment after a crisis.
    The sooner classrooms return to learning, the better. During the recovery process, depending on the degree of crisis, a sense of school community needs to be restored. Schools should identify resources and make them readily available to students, staff and the community. Debrief with staff and emergency responders. During these “post-meetings,” schools can facilitate lessons and plan revisions and alternate trainings for future incidents.


Attend one of our Active Shooter Workshops at our Education & Healthcare Security Forum coming up in October 27 & 28, 2014 at Chicago, IL. For more information, click here.




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