You never think it would happen to you. Then, it does. Fortunately for Grumpy Old Teacher’s (GOT) district, the procedures worked. The threat never got into the school building. Shortly thereafter, school police confronted him two blocks away and the threat was over.
The doors were locked. As the threat tried to gain entry, an alert employee triggered a school lockdown and called the authorities. The threat tried twice to get into the school before, frustrated, he left the campus. The safety protocols worked.
How many times does this take place across the United States? Note that the threat (not gentleman, GOT has no idea why the superintendent would use that word to refer to him, maybe it was emotion and trying to present a calm front for the media) was armed with a ‘large axe,’ not firearms.
Here is the message she sent to employees, which parallels the public statement released to parents and the community:
Dear Team Duval,
By now, you have probably heard media reports about the incident that occurred at [redacted], concluding in a church parking lot about two blocks beyond the school. I am writing to let all of Team Duval know how thankful I am for the [redacted] staff member who recognized a potentially dangerous situation at the school and took appropriate steps to keep our students and staff safe.
In case you missed the media reports, an unknown person wielding a large axe attempted to enter the school. Following our procedures, the individual was not permitted access, and the front office staff member called the code red. While it was obviously a tense situation, our staff followed their training, and our students and staff remained safe.
School Police quickly intervened when the suspect fled the campus. Unfortunately, the situation escalated in the church parking lot, and our police officer was forced to shoot the suspect. While it is saddening that the event ended in this way, I am very thankful for the professionalism of our school staff and our School Police officer who each took the steps necessary for the safety of the school community.
In addition to my desire to share my gratitude for these staff members, I also want to remind everyone of the importance of our procedures and our training. Every day, we rely on each other—and our students rely on us—to maintain safe and secure campuses. Today at [redacted], it all worked, and we all get to realize how important it really is.
Thank you again to School Police and the [redacted] staff. You are truly heroes.(Redactions were made by GOT.)
Today, it went right. But how would things have turned out if the threat was armed with guns? Probably somewhat different. Hopefully, the threat will recover and investigators can find out why he went to the school Friday afternoon. After all, we live in a society wherein the weak and vulnerable are too often targeted to become victims.
Some of who may think you know where GOT is going. Oh, he’s going to call for gun control. Yes, sometimes we have to give up a bit of freedom in order to enhance our safety. GOT declines to say where he would draw the line, but can we all acknowledge that we can’t have either absolute and need to decide where the line should be?
We hear about the places where things go terribly, tragically wrong. Many more times it goes right. You never think it would happen to you until it does. May it go right in your time of trouble.