School officials must prepare for unthinkable

Published 10:13 am Friday, July 22, 2016

It’s difficult to reconcile the idea of schools as a safe haven with the photo of a local school principal dressed in combat gear holding a weapon.

But that’s the world we live in now. Schools, as we have all learned, are not exempt from the violence that has too often plagued this nation, and school officials must now be prepared for something as horrible as an active shooter.

On Tuesday, local law enforcement officers worked with school officials to better prepare them for an active shooter situation. Investigator Damian Gatlin and Deputy Jason Gaskin helped lead the class at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

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Gatlin’s advice to those present: “You must be prepared.”

“You are the ones that the kids are going to follow in a situation like this,” he said.

Gaskin’s advice followed: “As a last resort, attempt to take an active shooter down. If a shooter is in close range, you have a greater chance of survival if you incapacitate him or her. Don’t ever let Jason Gaskin catch you begging for you life on your knees. You fight. You do something.”

What teacher hasn’t watched the news and wondered “What would I do in that situation?” Those who attended Tuesday’s training now have some help answering that question. Or at least they know what law enforcement officers recommend they do.

It’s terrifying that school officials need this training, but being prepared is the only option — denying that it could happen at your school is naive.

We’re thankful that school officials see the value in this kind of training, but it’s heartbreaking to know it’s necessary. We can only hope they never have to use what they learned.