Sun, 01 Aug 2021

According to statistics, various incidents in schools were occurring in the United States almost every year. In most cases, there were victims.

'We are really under pressure, and we train almost every month,' says Linda Barrett. She has been an elementary school teacher in California for over 15 years. According to her, the practice of compulsory preparation of schoolchildren for possible critical situations introduced into the educational program after the events in Columbine.

As the teacher mentioned, some scenarios considered the bomb planted in the school or that a fire had just started. In that case, the children should have been evacuating within 30 seconds from the building. In this case, students are taken out of there in an organized manner, regardless of the weather. Outerwear should be left in the closet even if it's cold outside because, as school officials explain, in an emergency, time should not be wasted looking for personal items. During the exercises, the school principal stands with a stopwatch, says Barett. And there are about 1300 students in the school.

During drills in some scenarios with the shooter inside, children should not be evacuated outside from the school. 'In this case, we must close the doors to the classroom, take the children away from the windows and doors (in our case, I send them to the dressing room) and instruct them not to make a sound, as if there is no one in the classroom,' - says Linda Barett. In line with her observations, the number of such pieces of training is increasing every year. Their results are evaluating by a special safety commission that exists in each school. Normally, such a commission includes a local police officer, director and social worker.

Will Such Training Be Beneficial?

The latter type of teaching in schools has caused widespread public debate in the United States. Once we had drills, and we had to observe complete silence. And my friend and I chatted in a whisper and laughed a little. The teacher looked at us sternly and said that everyone, they say, killed you. It became scary, says Kate Foster, a seventh-grade student of one of the schools in New York.

Many educators and public figures opposed such pieces of training. They argued that their effectiveness is not proven, and psychological trauma in children is very likely.

According to former FBI agent Chris Grollneck, an expert on mass shootings prevention, more than 90% of the deaths in the 13 mass shootings he analyzed were due to people trying to hide. These attempts only make them easily accessible victims, he said in an interview with ABC News.

Joy Levinson, a child psychotherapist from New York, said that he receives patients who have suffered psychological trauma during such school sessions. According to the specialist, there is one significant problem. The exercises are performed simultaneously in all schools, including the junior ones, regardless of the age of the students. That is not the best technique since younger students must be prepared psychologically in advance for such exercises. Children often cry, get scared, panic, and everything that happens goes against the expectations of what had been planned initially, he told the New York Post.

Even the US President supported the protesters. 'I imagine ... that I am ten years old ... And I ask: 'What kind of teachings are they?' And they answer me, 'Well, someone can come and ... shoot you.' I think this is a very negative thing, to be honest. I don't like it,' he said in September at a meeting with teachers at the White House.

What Equipment Do Schools Buy?

Over the past years, schools have seen a significant increase in the purchase of safety equipment. If in 2015 the market volume was $ 2.5 billion, then in 2017, it is already $ 2.7 billion. According to analysts, in 2021, it will grow to $ 2.8 billion. Demand for school security systems, such as doors with remote control, metal detectors, bunkers, panic buttons, walkie-talkies and even face recognition systems and applications for searching for dangerous statements in social networks, is growing after each new tragedy. The last attack by a school shooter happened in Parkland, Florida February 2018. Nicholas Cruz, 19, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, sneaked into the school, turned on the fire alarm and shot 17 people.

It would be much safer for schoolchildren to have Body Armor GEN 2 Threat Level: III in their bags. That's because such a bulletproof vest can save your life. Such body armor can even protect against a machine gun. Unfortunately, schools do not provide students with such a kit, so parents have to buy protection themselves. As the reported, today, the purchase of bulletproof vests by schoolchildren and students has increased significantly, and this is not just that.

Palm Beach County Police Chief - Lawrence Leon, as he told The New York Times, that after the tragic incident, he received thousands of requests to install new security systems. Requests included a wide range of security products - from the latest generation of door locks to metal detectors and computer systems. There was even an idea to put bulletproof glass in schools. But then it was recognized as unsuccessful. In case of an emergency evacuation, it may be necessary to knock out the glass.

The US government does not control what and how purchased to ensure the safety of schools, how often pieces of training are conducted. There is no uniform standard for ensuring safety in educational institutions. In March 2018, the Federal School Safety Commission was created, led by Education Minister Betsy Devos. It includes US Attorney General Jen Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirsten Nielsen. As noted on the Commission website, its task is to quickly develop recommendations for ensuring school safety, including infrastructure issues. However, the commission members admit that there is no single plan that would suit all schools in the country at once. Therefore, the chairpersons are engaged in organizing public hearings and round tables in different states. The final recommendations are not yet ready.

Do Security Systems Help?

Now, local education departments (councils for education) have joined schools' to solve the problem of equipping schools within the state legislation. Each county in each state of the United States has one council. Active residents of the district interested in influence the educational safety process run and are elected for it. Commonly, several elementary schools are there in the area, a couple of middle one, and the senior, but this figure varies across the country. Most often, members of the council are people whose children or grandchildren study in local schools, and for several years they perform their duties free of charge. They are the ones who vote on, for example, which religious holidays to make the weekend, whether to extend school holidays and most importantly, how to allocate the budget.

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