Quick thinking on behalf of elementary school administrators saved the lives of countless children at a Northern California elementary school on Tuesday.  After a bloody rampage through Rancho Tehama where he killed four people, the gunman attacked the local elementary school.

Local officials report that after he killed four people at several sites the gunman tried to get into the Rancho Tehama Elementary School.  He had a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns in his possession.

 The AP reported that workers heard shots being fired and immediately initiated a lockdown that saved lives.

School officials say that the gunman crashed his vehicle through the school’s locked gate and fired dozens of shots on the campus — he shot out windows and through walls.

Jeanine Quist, an administrative assistant with the Corning Union Elementary School District, says no one was killed at the Rancho Tehama Elementary School Monday morning but a “number” of students were shot and wounded.

Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston stated that it was “monumental” that school workers took the action they did and that it resulted in saving the lives of countless children.

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On April 10, 2017, a murder-suicide inside a San Bernardino Elementary School classroom tragically led to the death of an eight year old boy and his teacher, according to San Bernardino Police.  The shooter, 53-year old Cedric Anderson, was the husband of Karen Smith, his intended victim.  Police say they were recently estranged.  

According to witnesses, Anderson entered the classroom where Smith taught 15 special needs students from first through fourth grade, pulled out a firearm and shot Smith before turning the gun on himself.  Eight year old Jonathan Martinez and another nine year old boy were standing behind Smith and were also shot.  Martinez died of his injuries and the other child is hospitalized in stable condition.  

Anderson was known to school staff.  In fact, police chief Jarrod Burguan explained that, “ he entered the office and he had simply said that he was there to drop something off for his wife.”  

The approximately 500 students of North Park Elementary were evacuated to Cajon High School.  Many of the parents speaking to news outlets stated that they heard of the shooting via the news media and rushed to the scene.  Other anguished parents gathered outside the high school waiting for news of their children.  

One parent asked why he was not sent a text message or given any information.  Another parent stated that she received a robo-call from the school about an emergency after the story broke over the news.  She said that there was no answer when she called the school.

This incident serves as an important reminder that schools must be prepared for any crisis situation.  So often emphasis is placed on the violent stranger but tragically, violence can also strike from within the school community.  Images of parents desperate for news of their children also underscores the need for schools to have a comprehensive crisis communication plan in place and be prepared to rapidly put the plan into action.

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On March 30, Greenwich High School in Greenwich, CT went into lockdown for several hours after the discovery of a specific threat scrawled on a restroom wall.  

When the lockdown was initiated, students reported initial panic in the hallways, with people screaming and running in different directions.  Students quickly sheltered in classrooms and other safe areas as authorities conducted an investigation.  Though thankfully only a threat, this incident serves as a reminder that every school must have in place a well planned and practiced crisis response protocol.

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Schools across New York State are now required to conduct a minimum of four lockdown drills in each school year.  The law, enacted with the $155.6 billion New York State budget, affects all K-12 schools and went into effect July 1, 2016.  

Up until now, lockdown drills were recommended but not required.  Senator Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, who proposed the bill, stated “It’s vital that we prepare our school districts as best we can in order to respond quickly and efficiently before, during and after an incident.”

The importance of crisis preparedness has been underscored by recent events.  On September 28, 2016,  one six-year-old student was killed when a 14 year-old gunman opened fire on the playground at Townville Elementary School in Townville, South Carolina.

CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez reported that the school of nearly 300 students had conducted active shooter drills “multiple times over the past several years,” and officials said that this practice “helped prevent the situation from becoming a lot worse.”

At Bedrock Intelligence, we offer training sessions for school administrators, faculty, and staff.  We have learned that crisis training should never be “one size fits all.”  Drilling must be tailored to your specific building(s) and take into account the age, location, and special needs of your student population.

Our training centers on how the brain responds to crisis. We examine the necessity of conducting drills for both staff and students, emphasizing that the best way to handle an extreme stress event is practice.

Our training is designed to give educators a level of comfort with crisis response whether they are coping with a natural disaster, a fire, an emergency outside the school building, or danger inside the building such as an active shooter.

Bedrock will teach your Crisis Leadership Team to respond to an emergency situation using simple, plain language.  By using a set of commands that are familiar and have been practiced, you will be prepared to respond quickly and decisively.

For older student populations, we discuss violence prevention through the development of threat assessment and heightened awareness of bullying and other behaviors that isolate and disenfranchise members of the school community.

The Bedrock team will come to your school in advance of the training session to review your facility and create a clear response protocol that is customized to your building.  The training session itself lasts for a half day and concludes with drilling on the protocol that we have developed for your school.

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More on Security, Lockdown and Attendance Software – GoPad Secure for Schools

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ERBThis seminar will examine how the body and brain respond to an extreme stress situation. We will discuss popular crisis response models from “Run, Hide, Fight” to “Lock Out, Get Out, Take Out” and examine why well rehearsed simple commands are more effective and appropriate in a school setting, especially with younger student populations. We will discuss the importance of practice or drilling and the fact that the brain can access this training to react rapidly under stress. Drilling, while necessary, doesn’t have to be a frightening experience for children. Click for More

 

Recently the New York City Department of Health issued amendments to Article 47 of the New York City Health Code governing school-based early childhood programs.

Some of these changes relate directly to school safety and security.

Bedrock Intelligence has reviewed the amended sections and we believe that many schools and child care facilities will need to update current security protocols.

Download the Article47_update