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Do You Know How Your Kids Will React in an Active School Shooting?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Do you know how your kids will react in an active school shooting?

Let me ask you this question again and please answer it honestly. It could be life and death for your children:

Do you know how your kids will react in an active school shooting?

I was listening to 'Talk 1067' in Atlanta on Friday morning when the host Shelley Wynter had a local radio host and security expert, Mike Brooks, discussing security in America's schools.  

Wynter's show-topic sparked a chilling conversation with my son. As a reaction to the radio-segment, my son asked me about the school shooting; he wanted more details. I explained the tragic events of the Parkland, Florida mass killing where 16 students and adults died. 

Then, I asked my son what he would do if there was a shooter in his school. He told me that he'd probably get a couple kids and try to take the gun away.  

I was floored.

Obviously, I walked him through the reasons why that was dangerous and would likely end up in more kids getting killed, including him.  I told him the best thing to do was to lock the classroom door, try to escape the building and, if not, hide in a closet or behind a cabinet on the ground (in the corner).  I'm not even sure as a parent, if that was the best advice.

Clearly, having this chat with our kids is of great necessity because of what I found my child thinking was the best defensive action. It was the very action most likely to end up getting him killed.  My son has a great heart which led him to thinking that running into danger and death would be the right solution for everyone. In fact, it was the opposite.  

As parents of this North Atlanta elementary school, we received a call from the principle on Friday taking us through their security steps and lockdown procedure.  One of my kids had an active-shooter drill on Friday in their primary campus.  I was very happy to hear about that. We should make these security practices as common as fire-drills.  

My children's two schools are customarily locked at all times. We have to get 'buzzed-in' to gain access, but there are still plenty of security holes in both schools that I've personally observed. I emailed the principal some of these observations. We all have to be observant of security holes in our schools, churches and homes in order to stop future, evil killers.    

There is a parent in our local school that was just arrested for evading arrest, illegal drugs, harassing residents and fraud (all behavior that fits a shooter profile).  He's made threats against me (and the building manager who got him arrested) through a family member that later called to alert us.  We never know how many of these people are lurking near us and even have parental access to our schools.

What I've outlined above represents problems we must address.  First, we need to ask our children what they would do if there was an active school shooting. We need to make sure we also give our children the best direction that is not in conflict with what schools are teaching.  This means schools need to be in close partnership with parents so that we're all on the same page. We have a lot of work to do here.

We can prepare our kids and schools to be as safe as possible, but we still can't eliminate the risk of evil-souls with weapons destroying lives as we just experienced in Parkland, Florida.  

The reality is that, while speaking to our children about these issues increases their chances of survival in the unlikely event of a school shooting, enhanced security is the only way to stop it.

Speak to your children and then speak to your school board. We need a chorus of solutions to save America's children from future tragedy. We must convince our public school systems that metal detectors and trained, armed personnel are the only solutions that can truly eliminate shooting-deaths in schools from our future.

Preparedness is a necessity, but so is greatly enhanced security.

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