On school safety and active shooter training

Indiana lawmakers are likely to pass legislation requiring active shooter training for all educators this year.  What that training will look like across the state is left open for interpretation.

We saw what can go wrong with active shooter “training” in a northwest Indiana town already.  According to a tweet by the Indiana State Teachers Association:


During my three-decade career in law enforcement, I had the honor of serving as the Director of Training for a law enforcement academy.  As a commander and trainer, my job was to ensure that we educated recruits to have successful outcomes in whatever use of force scenario they may face.  Never would we begin their weeks of training with an armed intruder firing rounds of simunition (marking cartridge) or airsoft rounds at them to show them how ill-prepared they were to deal with a violent encounter.  No one learns anything in that scenario other than those projectiles sting, cause welts and bruises, and sometimes break the skin.  It is also quite defeating and makes a person feel helpless.

Whether a school is using the ALERTT Avoid, Deny, Defend or the ALICE Run, Hide, Fight, the bottom line is first they must adopt a strategy in the event of an armed intruder in their building.  Once they have a strategy they then must train and develop with their staff a survivor mindset.  In other words, you can get injured, fight through the pain and survive if you mentally prepare yourself.  You are not helpless.

Your body can’t go where your mind has never been.  This was told to me over and over by my defensive tactics instructors during my years of policing.  We must first prepare our teachers to mentally prepare for an armed intruder before we put them in reality-based encounters.  We must teach them they are not helpless.

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