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Prioritize safety, and face reality

Gov. Phil Bryant signed an executive order Tuesday creating a school safety task force that will study shootings, prevention and response.

Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher will lead the group. Bryant has tasked the group with sending him a written report on current safety procedures, identifying potential threats, evaluating current school response efforts and recommending improvements, The Associated Press reported.

The state Office of Homeland Security, part of the Department of Public Safety, has been leading school shooting response training for Mississippi schools. The most common course taught is Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, or CRASE, which seeks to teach school personnel how to flee, barricade against or attack a shooter, AP reported.

It is clear that schools need to prioritize student safety, and Bryant’s order is a good first step toward making schools safer. But will it be enough?

Santa Fe High School, the scene of a school shooting in May, had an active-shooter plan and two armed officers who patrolled the school. Still, 10 people were killed.

The school in Santa Fe thought it was a hardened target. They thought they were prepared.

While it’s likely their measures helped reduce the death toll,  it was not enough to prevent the shooting. Unfortunately, that may be the best scenario we can hope for.

Hopefully, Bryant’s task force can recommend safety measures that will be implemented across the state. Beyond that, sadly, there is not much else that can be done unless we are prepared to treat schools like prisons on lockdown. It’s an unfortunate reality, but one we must face.