I’m used to my son’s school offering parent seminars on building literacy in young children or keeping your kids off drugs. But I was caught off guard when the school announced its latest workshop: active shooter training.
My first-grader, it seemed, would soon be prepped on how to respond to a crazed gunman storming through his campus, which is such a sad reflection of our society. I found myself longing for a good old-fashioned lecture on the perils of marijuana.
But as much as I wanted to write off the training as typical American overreaction to a very small risk, I was glad for it.
When a gun-toting lunatic can slaughter a roomful of kindergartners at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when every week it seems there’s another needless mass murder somewhere, maybe it’s not unreasonable to prepare our children and their teachers for the worst.
So long as our country continues to take a lackadaisical approach to gun control, and now that our new president seems inclined to stand by that approach, it’s a threat we must accept and prepare for, even if you’re a kid. Especially if you’re a kid.
A few years back, I took an active shooter training course at my office. It was the best workplace training I’ve ever had, mostly because it was loaded with practical, no-nonsense survival tips instead of the usual buzz words on change management and strategic collaboration. Finally, I thought, I have skills.
I learned to hunker down, build blockades and, if all else fails, round up as many adults as possible to tackle the shooter by surprise.
But having taken the training, I was even more terrified of a gunman on a school campus. How could a kindergarten teacher possibly be expected to do the same? What use is a room full of toddlers? Could there be any population more vulnerable?
Does my 7-year-old, so sheltered in life, have any gut survival instincts? And what of my 2-year-old, who can barely walk, let alone flee a grown gunman?