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Harrisburg shooting affirms need for training

Lennox well knows that it can happen — a shooter can walk into a business or a school and life can change in an instant. More and more schools and businesses are electing to train their employees to be ready in the event they should have to deal with a violent intruder.

Last Wednesday morning, Lennox School District staff met at the high school for a training from Sheehan Solutions called S.A.V.E. Yourself©. In the middle of their training, Superintendent Kirk Easton made an announcement about the shooting at Harrisburg High School.

Stunned, some of the staff believed it was part of the training, said Easton. But when he told them that anyone who had a loved one or someone at Harrisburg High School that they wanted to call, they were free to go and do so, reality set in—there had been a shooting at Harrisburg High School.

Fortunately, thanks to the quick actions of the administration at Harrisburg High School, there were no fatalities and the shooter was apprehended.

But, the shooting confirmed the need for the training that was taking place at Lennox School District and other security measures that the District already has in place.

The Sheehan training was developed by Chad Sheehan, a 21 year veteran of law enforcement with experience as a school resource officer, currently assigned as Crime Prevention Officer for the Sioux City Police Department. The program is based on the recommended run, hide, and fight philosophy.

Run - It is no longer acceptable to offer a lockdown-only response. If safe to do so, the staff will attempt to rapidly evacuate the building and go to pre-designated “rally points”. This rapid evacuation may include multiple and non-traditional routes out of a building or location.

Hide - If rapid evacuation is not possible, staff will attempt to shelter/barricade in place and make every attempt to keep a violent intruder away from students. Any and all methods to create barriers will be used. While sheltering in place, students will be asked to assist in barricading as staff is evaluating secondary evacuation options and preparing to defend students as a last resort.

Fight - Fighting back as a last resort is just that, a last resort measure.

Next Tuesday, there will be an assembly for the Lennox School District students in each building and then each class will go to their classrooms for further training with the students. A letter is being sent to all parents telling them about the training and giving them the option to opt their children out of the training. Easton assured that the education of students will be done with age-appropriate language and content.

The fight option, as it relates to elementary and middle school students, is about doing things to be a more difficult target if confronted by a violent intruder.

“Students will be taught to distract and evacuate (age appropriate levels) if the room is compromised. We will NOT be instructing elementary school students to physically attack intruders,” said Easton. “All students will be taught how to be more difficult targets by creating distractions, moving and reacting quickly to danger.”

Easton said the teachers have told him that this training has empowered them - giving them tools to use if the need arises.

“There is no security measure we can do that will be 100% failsafe,” said Easton. “Students and staff need to know what to do if an intruder is in the building. That’s what this training is all about.”

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