Back to school season- a time for teachers and students to buy school supplies for the new year, finish summer homework, prepare lesson plans, and practice active shooter drills.
Before we get into the recent events of schools drilling for an active shooter, let’s recap what happened last school year. As of last May, there had been 23 mass shootings since the beginning of 2018. This averaged out to about one mass shooting per week. According to CNN, a school shooting is counted when at least one person is shot on school grounds (not including the shooter). Last semester, devastating news arose as 23 cities were victims of the 2018 school shootings. Due to this horrific number of shootings, it was not out of the ordinary to hear the news of another school shooting during the 2017-2018 school year.
Survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting decided that they were not going to keep quiet and worked together to spread awareness of the issue. On March 14 2018, a nation wide movement called March for Our Lives inspired many to keep the issue of gun violence in schools in the public conversation. Fast-forward to August 2018 and the issue of mass shootings have not dropped out of sight.
A week before the official first day of school, teachers at BHS came back to school to start prepping for the new school year. Preparations for the year included setting up classrooms, finalizing lesson plans, and an active shooter training. The high number of shootings last year called for an active shooter drill at BHS so teachers could provide the most safety for their students in case of an emergency.
A former CIA agent from Secure Educational Consultants met with the teachers from Benicia High School the Friday before school started. They met in the auditorium where he spoke for about an hour and a half about shooter safety. From there, he instructed the teachers to proceed to their classrooms and carry out their normal active shooter lockdown procedures. The instructor enacted a real scenario with a plastic gun in hand. He started at the office in the front of the school and within five minutes had made it around the whole school, except for one building. As the instructor made his way around the school, he tested every door to see if it was unlocked. His ability to get around the school in such a rapid time resulted in a horrifying realization for the teachers.
The former CIA agent ended his reenactment by informing teachers on how to improve their lock down procedures. As the number of school shootings were the highest they’ve ever been last school year, it was necessary to go through with this training. Although very informative, this training revealed the horrors that many schools have had to face. The emotional, intense, and real representation left many teachers with a different outlook towards the school year. In this day and age, being a teacher comes with the added responsibility of knowing the steps to take if a shooter does make his or her way onto campus. This is the America we live in and we must take all measures to keep our children safe.