AMU Original Public Safety

Regular Training Is Needed to Prevent School Shootings

By Allison G. S. Knox
Edge Contributor

Last month, an active shooter claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The thought of another mass casualty incident like this school shooting is simply horrifying, and there are not enough words to express why this event should never have happened. 

Numerous political science scholars argue that when disasters of this nature happen, there are often some administrative failures that contribute to the incident. According to NPR, a door to the school was accidentally left unlocked. In addition, NPR noted that police were not able to get to the shooter for an hour

From an academic standpoint, we can evaluate and analyze school shootings like Uvalde and Sandy Hook on numerous fronts. Ultimately, there isn’t anything anyone can do to bring back these children and their educators. What we can do, however, is demand that schools and public safety agencies provide regular training throughout the United States, at least until we figure out how to end school shootings for good.

Training Is Vital for Emergencies like School Shootings

Training is one of the most important ways to prepare for emergency situations, and it keeps people going during serious disasters. Training allows individuals to have a frame of reference for whatever threat they deal with and to know what to do to better handle emergencies. 

That’s not to say that people who work in elementary schools throughout the United States do not have emergency training. They can definitely teach children about how to behave during lockdown drills.

But training kids to help them learn the proper reaction to school shootings is horribly scary. While we need children to know how to conduct themselves in an emergency, sometimes finding the right time and place is challenging.

Adults working in school systems need to more regularly train for this type of incident; they should be given different active shooter scenarios and training on physical security measures. All of the adults at a school – such as teachers, therapists, and school administrators – should train with law enforcement and the National Guard, focusing on what to do for a variety of different active shooter scenarios.

This way, adults at a school may be able to practice for some of the scariest school shootings without involving kids. Such a concept may help school employees to train more readily to tighten their understanding of how to handle such incidents.

Allison G. S. Knox teaches in the fire science and emergency management departments at American Military University and American Public University. Focusing on emergency management and emergency medical services policy, she often writes and advocates about these issues. Allison serves as an Intermittent Emergency Management Specialist with the Department of Health and Human Services, as At-Large Director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and as Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees with Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences. She is also chair of Pi Gamma Mu’s Leadership Development Program. Prior to teaching, Allison worked for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in a Level One trauma center emergency department. She is an emergency medical technician and holds multiple graduate degrees.

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