A single action seldom produces a single outcome.
Just the opposite. In most things in life, there are numerous benefits that come from completing a task or taking positive action. We just tend to focus on the main and most obvious benefit while overlooking the many other and sometimes lesser goods that come from one positive action.
A student turns in a homework assignment. The main outcome is that he or she has competed the task and that’s a good thing. However, when we think about all the other complementary benefits provided by that single action, it suddenly takes on a different meaning—a better and deeper meaning.
The student followed the instructions, committed to taking purposeful action, chose to give up their personal time, worked diligently, and completed the task in a satisfactory manner and in the designated time. How do we know all of this happened? Because the teacher marked the main outcome as successful.
I don’t know of any employees that are looking for people to complete homework, but there are millions of great jobs waiting for people who possess the skills necessary to complete homework. The ability to follow instructions, take purposeful actions, give up personal time, work diligently…is a desperately needed skill.
While I may not be a fan of lots of homework, I am a huge fan of the complementary benefits that come from completing homework. Especially if we remember that there is so much more that can be gained from doing homework than just turning it in and getting a grade.
When it comes to lockdowns, I’m afraid that we’ve done the same thing.
We’re focusing on one outcome (and it’s a great outcome) while not fully appreciating the other complementary benefits that come from our teachers being able to quickly and effectively perform a lockdown. While there are many benefits, I’m going to just focus on the following three most valuable benefits to consider.
1. Ending the School Attack
The primary purpose of a lockdown is to save lives and limit physical harm by removing or blocking the intended victims from the attacker. This concept is an incredibly old and extremely effective strategy.
There are many who criticize our lockdown procedures, but they take a very narrow view and lack real understanding of the public schools. Don’t listen to them.
The Secret Service implements this same strategy by removing the president or blocking him with their bodies. They perform a mobile lockdown.
The military implements this same strategy in war zones and on bases across the world when they put up checkpoints to remove and block offenders from gaining access. They lockdown their people.
The real difference between what they do in a lockdown and what we do in the schools is that 1) they practice it until it’s perfect and 2) their lockdown is not solely defensive but also offensive.
In regards to the first, we’ll never match their perfection because we don’t and never will have the same amount of time to devote to training. However, that should never be an excuse for not adequately preparing our people to be successful in a school attack. When it comes to being prepared, some is better than none but more is better than less.
The real difference is that we only treat a lockdown as a defensive measure.
We forget and therefore don’t train our teachers that a lockdown is by its very nature, also an offensive action. Teachers are not only saving lives and reducing physical harm, but are also in a very real way helping (fighting) to end the school attack. The faster and more effectively that they can remove and block themselves and their students from the attacker, the quicker the attack will end because they have helped the entire school to regain the initiative from the attacker.
The attacker begins the violence—he has the initiative. We must respond to him. Our teachers go into an immediate lockdown and now he must respond to us—we have taken back the initiative.
Our lockdowns, if accomplished quickly and effectively, will also clear the halls, isolate the attacker, and assist law enforcement to identify and stop the threat. The moment we regain the initiative, the attack is minutes or even seconds from ending. Therefore, a lockdown is a defensive and offensive action.
2. Everybody Fights
Very few people physically fight an attacker. This is true whether the attack occurs at a mall, movie theater, club, business, place of worship, or public schools. Most people will not do it and while we can certainly train a person to act differently, that’s not the problem. The problem is that we only consider fighting to be fighting if it is physical and because 99% of our people will not do it, we’re handicapping our teachers with a wrong and harmful perspective.
Teachers who go into a lockdown are fighting. They’re fighting for their lives, the lives of their students, and because we also know that a lockdown is an offensive action, teachers therefore are also fighting for every other teacher and student in the building and not simply those in the same classroom.
They’re also fighting for the officers responding to the attack by clearing the halls and isolating the attacker. Like all great teams for fight for eachother!
The better a teacher can perform a lockdown the more effective their ability to fight the attacker. Please remind your teachers that hiding is a form of fighting, running is a form of fighting, surviving is a form of fight.
(screenshot from our ACT FAST professional Development)
3. Reduced Fear
In my life, I have seen CPR performed twice. While it’s an easy skill, there is nothing easy about watching it being performed. Each time I was the third person to arrive so I missed having to assist. After the second time, I can honestly say that I’m afraid that one day I’ll have to do it on my own. It is a real fear I carry, but it’s a small fear because I know how to do CPR.
Teachers are afraid of school attacks. We can lessen that real fear by preparing them to be able to quickly and effectively conduct a lockdown as well as how and when to initiate the run, hide, fight strategies. While we cannot control everything that happens, we can certainly influence the level of fear our teachers are experiencing. With that lower level of fear comes a higher quality of life for our teachers.
Every chance you get, remind your teachers that a great lockdown is also an offensive strategy because it helps to end the school attack. Also, remind them that everybody fights in a crisis and that a lockdown is a form of fighting—fighting for their lives, the lives of the students, fellow teachers, and police officers responding to the attack.
When we remind one another of these additional benefits, it will help us to be more prepared and less afraid.
Who doesn’t want that?
There’s a couple of ways I’d like to help…
Please use them!
Instead of taking the teacher out of the classroom, bring the classroom to the teacher. This online professional development can be watched at each teacher’s convenience.
The course is less than four hours long and shows teachers when and how to implement the same simple techniques that countless others have used to survive a school attack. The first 35 schools and districts that sign up now, receive a discount on the registration fee as well as 2 free seats per school to any of our live trainings.
3. Train-the trainer live course.
This 2 day training equips participants to teach ACT FAST to their individual schools by providing classroom instruction, a PowerPoint, instructional video to review, as well as continued support.
If you cannot find a course near you, consider hosting a course. It’s easy and you get at least 2 free seats to the training.