Teachers at Holy Family Church in Fairmount are gearing up for another school year and getting some valuable training on how to best react to protect their students and themselves in the event of a serious threat.
Meanwhile, a training program which began in Syracuse after the Sandy Hook tragedy, almost six years ago, is busy serving school districts. Instructors like Dave Mason from Armoured One say they provide options for teachers, administrators and school staff.
“If the worst happens, they will have prepared for it in some way,” Mason said. “Obviously you can’t prepare for most every situation, but you can have a thought process in mind. If ‘A’ happens, I can do ‘B’, ‘C’, or ‘D’, and go through a process so they are prepared and ready to respond and protect themselves and protect their kids.”
Tuesday was the next level of training by the company at the school. Principal Sister Christina Marie Lucynski says the school has a high level of awareness of what’s going on outside on West Genesee Street and Chapel Drive.
“Teachers will see someone. They usually report it to the office right away so that we can keep our eyes open,” Lucynski said. “We do have cameras all around the property inside and out so we are able to monitor that right from the office.”
Guns are not allowed into the school; however, Lucynski says an unmarked officer is frequently present outside on school grounds when students and teachers spend time outdoors. This and other measures taken by the school are meant to fend off active shooters, whom Armoured One Spokesperson Nanette Downie says are mostly linear.
“Whatever disrupts their plan, they tend to move on,” Downie said. “What we train our teachers is: run, hide, barricade, fight. Depending on where the shooter is, you can react. Just know: whatever scenario you are in, there is an option.”
THE NATIONAL REACTION AND EFFECT
Unfortunately the Holy Family School is not the only school forced to adapt amidst the nationwide epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings. Many schools have began using metal detectors to monitor those enterring the facilities because a shooter is often an insider. In the event that an active shooter gains access to the building, other schools have implemented defense systems meant to disable the shooter.
School systems are going above and beyond what used to be the status quo of school security because the stakes are so high. While the fatalities in Columbine, Sandy Hook, and most recently Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School usually dominate the headlines, the survivors also face traumatic effects. The Washington Post found that more than 215,000 students have experienced gun violence in school since the Columbine in 1999.
Downie adds the training is providing teachers empowerment that they can attempt to reduce or prevent any loss of life in their school.