On September 13th, 2017 one student died and three others were injured in a shooting at Freeman High School near Spokane, WA.   The day before the shooting, students and staff had practiced a lockdown drill.

The Spokane sheriff says the shooter, a high school student, was stopped by a school employee who prevented an even greater tragedy.  The Associated Press reports that this school employee was a custodian.

It now appears that the shooter, identified as Caleb Sharpe, had posted videos to YouTube where he shot toy guns and pretended to shoot a friend, reports CBS News’ Mireya Villarreal.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the suspect rode the school bus Wednesday morning.  Authorities report that he had both a pistol and rifle with him in a duffle bag.

15-year old sophomore student Michael Harper told the Associated Press that Sharpe was obsessed with past school shootings and had brought notes to school saying he might be jailed or killed and that some students had alerted counsellors.

Top 5 Best Practices in school security dictate that every school:

  1. Review and update your emergency protocol annually
  2. Train faculty and staff on the protocol every year
  3. Conduct regular drills with both staff and students
  4. Test equipment, especially internal communication equipment on a regular basis
  5. Ensure that your school building is secure and lockdown-ready

A well-structured plan goes beyond baseline preparation to ensure that students, faculty and staff are fully prepared to respond calmly and effectively in an emergency.  In fact, a written plan is just one component of an effective security protocol.  Active preparation, regular review and training are imperative.  Adults and children alike feel safe and secure when they know what to do in an emergency.

At Bedrock Intelligence, a key feature of our work is to create a safety plan tailored to your building and school population. We provide the necessary training to ensure that faculty and staff are empowered to guide your school through an emergency.   

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This recent image posted on Facebook by a troubled mother showed her three-year-old daughter standing on a toilet “practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool.”  The image sparked strong reactions, most of which centered on the photo as a sad commentary on our society and our fear for children’s safety at school.  

Although crisis response drills are not yet legally required for early childhood centers as they are for K-12, it is nonetheless essential to ensure that staff and students know how to respond to a crisis situation at school.  Lockdown drills do not have to be frightening experiences.

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.”  Drills 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 program 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.

In schools with younger populations, such as early childhood centers, we focus on safety of entrances and exits and protocols surrounding arrival and dismissal.  These protocols include use of secure electronic check-out with caregiver photographs that ensure student safety.

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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September 28, 2016:  Two six-year-old students and a female teacher were injured yesterday, one critically, 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.”

Law enforcement arrived seven minutes after receiving a call from a teacher that there was a gunman on campus. In that time teachers successfully locked down the school building preventing the gunman from getting inside.

The gunman, who officials report has no known relationship to his victims, was apprehended by Volunteer firefighter Jamie Brock, who held him on the playground until police arrived.

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February 23, 2016

A recent incident in Kalamazoo, Michigan comes just weeks after Uber settled two class-action lawsuits for $28.5 million after the company was accused of exaggerating the safety of its background checks. Despite using phrases such as “safest ride on the road” and “industry-leading background checks,” the suits claimed, the company did not check drivers against the national sex-offender registry or employ fingerprint identification. “We learned of systemic failures in Uber’s background checks,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in reference to the lawsuits, according to Forbes. “We have learned they have drivers who are convicted sex offenders, thieves, burglars, kidnappers and a convicted murder.”

It turns out that previously screened Uber drivers have committed crimes including involvement in a racially motivated choking incident and an anti-gay assault, drunken driving and rape.  In one example an Uber driver, Patrick Karajah, 26, from Pacifica, California with no previous criminal record pleaded guilty in 2014 to felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury. Officials said he struck a 25-year-old passenger in the head with a hammer, fracturing the man’s skull, after an argument about the route Karajah was driving.

“People wanting to sign up as a driver-partner with Uber are required to provide detailed information, including their full name, date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number, a copy of their driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance, and proof of a completed vehicle inspection,” an Uber statement said. “With the potential driver-partner’s approval, Checkr (a low cost and potentially superficial background check service) then looks into his or her background.”

The Uber background check includes a social security trace to identify addresses associated with the potential driver-partner’s name during the past seven years, and then searches for his or her name and addresses in a series of national, state and local databases for convictions in the last seven years.

Critics say seven years doesn’t peer far enough into a potential driver’s past.  Drivers cited in the lawsuits had felony convictions as long ago as 1982, Forbes reported, for incidents as wide-ranging as kidnapping for ransom, assault with a firearm, robbery and committing lewd or lascivious acts against a child under 14.  At the same time, Uber’s terms and conditions emphasize that passengers accept risk by riding in one of their vehicles.  “You understand, therefore, that by using the application and the service, you may be exposed to transportation that is potentially dangerous, offensive, harmful to minors, unsafe or otherwise objectionable,” Uber’s terms and conditions read, “and that you use the application and the service at your own risk.”

Chris Dolan, an attorney who is representing a 6-year-old girl who was struck and killed by an Uber driver this year, said the company’s fine print absolves the company of injury, accidents or a dangerous driver.”It completely covers their ass and says, ‘We’re not responsible for anything that happens to you, period,’” Dolan said. “It says, ‘You can be raped, you can be killed, you can be murdered, and it’s not our responsibility.’”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill Tuesday authorizing up to $20 million to reimburse nonpublic schools for the hiring of unarmed security guards. The New York City Council voted 43 to 4 last month to reimburse private and religious schools for unarmed security if the schools have at least 300 students.  De Blasio stated that the bill will help “keep our communities safer.”

A “credible electronic threat” has caused the closure of the nation’s second largest school district. The Los Angeles Unified School District has closed all of its school campuses today following the threat, affecting 700,000 school-aged children. Superintendent Ramon Cortines has directed plant managers at all campuses to survey the grounds for anything suspicious. The FBI is assisting the LAPD who have sent officers to schools as the threat is investigated. LAUSD has set up a call in numbers that parents can use for information and has requested that they collect children who were already at school.

A district-wide crisis such as this requires evacuation planning on the part of schools. Parents now need to locate children already left at school or those travelling to school by bus. This is another example of how schools must plan for a large-scale city crisis. Parents and caregivers, must be included in the evacuation plan to allow for rapid, safe collection of children when a crisis occurs.

It was reported to day that one Los Angeles mother learned of the threat on television and tried to locate her 13-year old son at Hollywood High.  “I’m trying to figure out where he is,” she said. “If they sent an alert, I never received it.”