This story originally appeared in CBS News Texas on March 21, 2023. Read the full article here.
In light of the recent shootings on school campuses, how can we keep our children safe, both indoors and out?
by Brooke Rogers
ARLINGTON (CBSNewsTexas.com) – Monday’s tragedy at Lamar High School marked the 88th incident of gunfire on Texas school grounds in 10 years, according to a research and policy group.
But what was different was that it happened outside of the actual school building. So CBS News Texas looked to the experts to ask –how can we keep our children safe, both indoors and out?
Gunshots rang out before the first bell did Monday at Lamar High School. Criminologists said that shouldn’t be a surprise.
“Anytime you see students, staff or faculty on school grounds, there’s a potential victimization on any of them. And there’s also a potential offender that may actually be on site,” said Dr. Alex del Carmen, an associate dean at Tarleton State University’s School of Criminology.
He said it’s not just about the time but also the place.
“It’s really the mindset about security, that the threat doesn’t have to come from the inside or take place within the inside walls of the school,” he said.
You’ve probably heard – and maybe even taught your kids – to “run, hide, fight” in the case of an active shooter. So, does that apply to the outdoors? Del Carmen said, it does.
“In my view, those rules actually continue to apply,” he said. “If you can get away from the threat, do so. If you can hide and you cannot run, go ahead and hide.”
Brad Spicer, who specializes in safety preparedness and emergency management with Navigate 360, agreed, saying school training should expand beyond lockdowns.
“Lockdown is certainly one of the pillars when we look at how to try to protect people from a violent critical incident, or an active shooter, and lockdown obviously has great value, but if people are outside, that value is gone,” Spicer said.
Del Carmen also said that districts and legislators should station first responders at all school entry and departure points – who can remain focused throughout the morning and afternoon chaos.
“That’s the lesson here for us to learn is that we need to minimize that threat at all times at all levels,” he said.
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