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Safety Solutions

Get Real: Understanding School Bomb Threats Part Three

Posted by John Baker on Aug 3, 2016 7:59:40 PM

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Part Three:  What Are We Teaching Our Children?


I must admit there isn’t much research to back-up Part Three.  This is where I step out on a limb and speak from the heart.  This is a combination of life experience, professional knowledge, responding to literally thousands of crisis situations and a pinch of intuitiveness. 

We teach our children a lot of stuff to help prepare them for adulthood.  We teach them about child molesters, fire safety, drugs, sex, alcohol, managing money and the value of education.  The list goes on.  For every generation it seems one of these themes is emphasized a little bit more than some of the others.   For this upcoming generation I believe these children are going to need to know about situational awareness and how to respond when evil shows up.  It’s the world we are unfortunately giving them. 

I was a scout leader for quite a few years.  It never ceased to amaze me how some boys would react when they fell and cut their knee or scuffed their elbow.  Most came over to me holding their injured limb with a sad face.  We often looked at it together, got out the first aid kit and dressed the wound and got them back playing in no time.  That same boy a week later could trip and fall while running from his mother’s car when she dropped him off and there was an entirely different reaction.  Mom and dad run up, they looked horrified at the sight of blood on their son’s knee and everyone starting freaking out.  Through the tears I would guide their son into the scout house and dress that wound as his mother massaged his shoulders and told him everything would be OK and how foolish she felt letting him run across the parking the lot.  I believe the difference in how the boy reacted was based on what he thought the expectation was of the person coming to his aid. 

So if we are going to prepare them for this crazy world, is our overreaction to a low level threat a good thing to model?  After all they are going to see enough medium and high level threats in their life can we afford to throw them into panic mode over the little stuff?

This is when I look to nations like Israel and other parts of the world where violence and evil happens with more frequency.  They seem to have adapted to it.  It doesn’t shut the nation down for weeks after a bombing or mass shooting.  Instead they respond quickly and effectively.  They investigate, clean up the damage and get back to living.  I think that is the direction we need to head for our children.  After all someday they are going to have to get up the next morning and keep living after bad things happen.  

There is no doubt that you can look at many bomb threat response guides written by some really solid organizations like the International Chiefs of Police Association or the Department of Homeland Security and you will see protocols which call for schools to be evacuated every time.  I would only suggest that most of these protocols are written by well intentioned, very righteous first responders who look at these types of events in the moment and not necassarily in a more full context.  Like I said this series of blogs is one person's view combined with some solid data and a life time of experience.  It is up to you to weigh these things. 

As we close this series I think the whole idea of the word “bomb” just freaks us out.  We can’t get beyond the fiction and see the facts.  Yet when we learn that a student was killed in car accident the night before and everyone is sad and traumatized we have school the next day. In fact some of that rational is “death is a part of life and children need to learn how to cope”.  Well for this generation evil is part of life and they need to learn how to cope.   Sure there are tears and children need to go down and talk with counselors to start figuring it out, but we have school.  It goes on; but if some student sends a message on a social media sight suggesting there may be bomb at school  we run for our lives?  I don’t get it.   I think in the long run our disproportionate response is going to hurt our children when they grow up and have to manage these and other crisis situations on their own.  This is John Baker for safetysolutions4schools.com.  We hope you found this series beneficial.  We would enjoy hearing from you. 

Topics: School Safety

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