Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Right Way to Protect Schools

The last few years have seen several incidents in which one or two men have undertaken violence at schools. They typically put on paramilitary garb and bring enough weaponry to terrorize the entire school. Many large school districts have metal detectors in high schools, but a metal detector is useless against someone who comes in with no intention of surrendering his weapon. Aside from militarizing the schools, protecting schoolchildren while they learn seems to be a difficult task. Doing so while maintaining a positive learning atmosphere seems especially daunting.

Well, a new method to combat the violence comes from the Burleson, Texas school district.

BURLESON — Hoping to stiffen its defense against intruders, the Burleson school district is training students and teachers to fight back with everything from books to scissors.

The "critical incident response" training for teachers and students instructs them to disrupt attackers by barraging them with classroom supplies, officials said.

"Crawling under a table and hoping and waiting for rescue is not a recipe for survival," Greg Crane, an incident response trainer, said in a report by Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT.

Crane's wife, school principal Lisa Crane, adds, "Do we need to put armies in schools? I have a small army here." 600 teachers have received training in how to fight back, including using any means possilble to distract and harass the attacker.

Hopefully one of the components of such training would be to tell students that in an emergency situation, as in every situation, they have the choice to act or not to act. If they choose not to act, they are putting their fate in the hands of someone with proven disregard for their safety. If they choose to act, the power is theirs. As Blonde Sagacity put it, "I think it's incredibly empowering for the children - especially in light of the stress that current events have placed on them.".

There may be some parents who fear training kids to fight back will increase their child's likelihood of being harmed in a school attack. I think recent history has shown us that killers love attacking schools precisely because they expect little resistance.

When that bad man attacked the Amish school, I thought, "What if that teacher had a gun? Would those kids be alive today?" But I think the real question is, "What if those kids had all rushed and attacked the attacker?" If he had known they would do that, would he have attacked them?

It is perhaps the most firmly entrenched right, the right of self-defense. It's about time we taught our kids the proper way to exercise that right.

Next time there is a school shooting, just remember that the attacker was expecting an easy victim. You can bet he won't find one in Burleson, Texas.

(original story and another link)

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