Safe in School
School violence is a problem that began in the United States in the eighteenth century. But it’s not restricted to this country now. The incidents of school violence occur all over the world daily. Some problems are minor and handled quickly. Others require intervention at a level no one wants to see.
A school shooting used to be handled by telling teachers to lock the doors and “shelter in place.” Students in the hallway were told to run. That works—to a degree.
Today, people are being told to use CO2 fire extinguishers to “disable” the shooter, by aiming for the eyes, nose, and mouth. Someone intent on harm won’t be able to shoot at the people in a school if they can’t see or breathe. Another item being touted is a new “blanket” that allows students to kneel on the ground and cover themselves with it. This “blanket” will deflect bullets, but one has to wonder how it will work since the sides are exposed.
Let’s face it. Schools have long been designated “gun free zones.” Law abiding citizens obey those rules and don’t bring a weapon with them to their child’s school. The people who do this are criminals. They don’t care about laws. A sign that a place is a “gun free zone” is an invitation to them. They figure nobody will stop them.
However, with some planning, students and teachers can overcome a shooter. What are those measures?
- Run smart. Yes, I can hear the comments now. A panicked person just runs. They don’t care about smart, but it can be done. Once the shooting starts, don’t run blindly in any direction. Stop at corners. Check around them as best you can. Take cover if the shooting is near where you are. In other words, swallow the panic and think—that can save your life.
- If you’re caught in a classroom, don’t sit still waiting on the shooter to enter. Prepare. Fire extinguishers are a good weapon. Once they run out of the CO2, throwing one at the shooter will cause them to duck. The same goes for anything heavy you can put your hands on.
- Pay attention to what’s going on around you at all times. Don’t be caught short because you were laughing with your friends. If someone is acting weird, tell a teacher. Maybe it’s nothing and you suffer a little embarrassment. Or maybe you’ve just spotted a bad situation in the making.
In Take Chances, Julie finds herself in a shooting situation. She’s unsure what to do, but thinks instead of reacting. It’s a lesson all kids can take away—thinking instead of panicking will help you get away.
Julie Bond grew up in Europe as a military brat. She found her very first permanent home in Landry, GA as a teen going into high school. Almost four years later, she's having pre-graduation jitters and flashing back to an incident of school violence she experienced in Europe. She attempts to convince herself that it can never happen again, but continually finds herself flashing back to that day no matter how hard she tries.
The people around her present any number of problems for Julie, and she's hard put to keep from drowning under all the issues. Then Michael--a cool guy she's had a crush on for the last three years—returns from traveling the US as a photographer, and Julie now has one more thing to distract her as she prepares to leave high school. One thing she firmly believes in: no one will ever invade her classroom with violence again.
Once again, the impossible happens. Once again, she's in a classroom with a madman holding a gun. Once again, she must survive.