What we should teach children about surviving a school shooting
03/07/2018 // Jayson Veley // Views

Following tragic school shootings like the one we witnessed in Connecticut back in 2012 and the one in Parkland just a few weeks ago, it is time for parents to consider having a tough talk with their children. One about what to do in the event that a crazed gunman enters the school with the intent to kill innocent people. Granted, it will likely be a very difficult conservation to have, but it’s a necessary one nonetheless.

Last month, Survivopedia.com published an article on this very topic in the days following the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The author of the article, a man by the name of Bill White, broke down the process of dealing with an active shooter into three basic actions, which you can pass on to your children – these three actions are flee, hide, and fight. (Related: Here are some more ideas and tips on how to survive a mass shooting.)


 It’s important to teach your children that a real life shooter situation is very different than the movies, where the hero can take three or four bullets and still carry on the fight. In a real active shooter scenario, just one bullet is all it takes to end a life – that’s why fleeing the scene should be your child’s top priority. However, as Bill White notes in his article, “Just running is worthless and may very well make them a target. Running away from the area where the shooter is operating can protect them.” In other words, teach your child to determine where the shooter is, so that they can then take a moment to process the situation and come up with a rational decision as to where to flee.


Chances are your child’s school already has procedures put in place that will require him or her to shelter in place in the event of an active shooter situation, so teach your child that this is a unique time where it is okay to disobey their teacher. As the parent, it is your responsibility to protect them from any disciplinary action they may face for choosing to flee the scene rather than hunker down with the rest of the students.

As Robert Richardson of Off Grid Survival put it, “I don’t care what policy the school has in place, if they tell your kids to shelter in place inside a classroom they are wrong, and I would have some serious doubts about sending my kid to that school.”


The problem with hiding in a school is that there aren’t many places that will provide your child with adequate cover from bullets flying through the air. It’s possible that a bullet from a rifle or a high caliber pistol could even go straight through a cinder block wall, and of course, furniture won’t do anything either. “The idea behind hiding is to not present yourself as a target to the shooter,” White explains. “This has value, in and of itself, as long as your child is hiding in someplace unexpected. These shooters want to see their victims die, so they are unlikely to shoot through a closet door, on the off chance that there is someone hiding in the closet.” (Related: Here’s how to find effective cover in a mass shooting.)


Teach your child that fighting back should always be an option that is left on the table, but that it should only be done as a last resort. Since most schools deny students their Second Amendment rights in the classroom, one possible way of fighting back is for a number of students to charge the shooter and bring him to the ground. Unfortunately, the shooter will most likely still be able to fire a few shots and potentially wound or kill some of the attackers, but it’s doubtful that they could kill all of them. This is an incredibly risky move, but it could mean the difference between one or two fatalities versus ten, eleven, twelve or more.

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