Teaneck—The words Sandy Hook and Columbine are enough to send chills down every parent’s spine. To many, these communities are infamous for only one thing: mass school shootings. In 2015, close to 300 mass shootings were recorded, and approximately 70 of them occurred in schools.
Most law enforcement agencies are of the opinion that it’s a “when,” not an “if,” that they will face an active mass shooter. They have been training on active shooter drills for decades, and many municipal police departments in our region run a large drill annually. Due to the changing times and the increase in global terrorism, some jurisdictions now drill in live exercises every month. School security teams are now drilling, collaboratively with local law enforcement, in much the same way.
Public-school administrators are required, yearly, to sign a Department of Education-mandated memorandum of understanding with their local chief of police or other law enforcement agency, which enumerates a specific plan of action regarding an active shooter scenario in addition to other mass emergency that might occur on campus. Private schools in our region, while not subjected to the same DOE mandate, have voluntarily and enthusiastically partnered with their law enforcement agencies to put in place robust plans of action for a wide variety of emergency scenarios.