I’ve been lucky enough that my old day job asked me back to work four days a week at the school while I hunt for a new job in law enforcement. I’ve got a couple of lines in the water, but none are real concrete leads, so I anticipate being stuck in IT for a little while. No big deal, I like the school where I work, and the people there are great.
The week before opening, and the first week of school are always a flurry of activity for the IT staff, since there are projects to wrap, and bugs to work out. It’s exhausting, but I’ve grown to very much enjoy it over the years. I think this will be my 9th or 10th opening, and while I’m a bit of a veteran, each year is different and presents a unique set of challenges that need to be met with patience, coffee, understanding, and coffee.
The teachers spend almost a week back before school actually kicks off, getting their classrooms ready, attending conferences and training seminars, and swapping lies with each other about how spectacular their summers were and how excited they are to be back.
The schedule for training this year came out and was posted in the main office the other day. I browsed it quickly, with little interest, since there was no new technology I had to host any training seminars on. But then I saw it.
Tuesday, September 2nd, 8:00am- Active Shooter Training, DCJS, All faculty and staff.
I stared at it for a minute, the unfortunate reality setting in. With another school year starting up around the country, the possibility for instances which necessitate this sort of training comes to life again. It is a cinch to write off such a possibility when living and working in as small a community as the one I’m currently a part of, but the reality is, that nobody can afford to write it off. As soon as you do, and as soon as you neglect to properly train your staff how to respond and react to something like this, you end up with a problem on your hands, and while I hate the idea that this tiny little school, which is very much like the one The Narrator attends, is going through such training, I’m glad they realize the necessity of preparing for such a tragic possibility.
I don’t intend to turn this post into a debate on guns, mental health, or the ‘culture of violence’ that we’re currently dealing with. Instead, I’m merely commenting on the idea that schools need to be aware and take pro-active steps for dealing with something like this, since it IS possible, regardless of the reason. I sat in on a training session with my old department last year and we talked about schools in our area that were almost literally putting their heads in the sand when it came to the subject of school violence. They were openly hostile to local law enforcement presence, their response training for emergencies was thin and far from comprehensive, and even their campus security was lax.
I don’t advocate turning schools into lockdown facilities. I don’t advocate armed guards strolling the hallways of our schools. I don’t advocate arming teachers or allowing concealed firearms on school property….but I DO want to know that schools are not turning a blind eye to situations that might require some sort of extreme response, simply because “Oh, that’s rare and could never happen here.”
I’m working in a tiny school with fewer than 300 students in grades K-12. We’re are rural as it gets. But the school is doing what it can to prepare its staff for the possibility of something horrible, and I’m very happy to know that they’re not dismissive of such training and education simply because of our geography and demographics.
I hate that this sort of thing has become necessary. I hate to know that this sort of schooling has become recommended for the places where we send our children to learn and grow. I hate that I walk the halls of even this tiny little place with a professional wariness that, even though I’m not currently working- will not go away.
But I’m glad that the gravity of the situation is sinking in. Because if you’re prepared for an eventuality- even just a LITTLE bit….who knows what you could save in terms of cost, and I don’t mean that in a dollar bills sense.