Schools make progress with active shooter training, but more work yet to be done

- When school shootings happen, it's inevitable people will ask what can be done to stop it.

And while experts say schools are making progress, there is certainly still room for improvement.

"Inoculation to violence is a thing," Archway Defense founder Peter Johnson said. "The more you see violence, the more you get used to it. It does start wearing on you to the degree that you don't pay it as much attention."

Johnson started his company in Chanhassen to train law enforcement, private companies and faith-based properties how to respond to active shooter scenarios. He says while police are getting into schools faster, and technology is allowing schools to go into lockdown more quickly, he'd like to see more students trained to recognize the warning signs to stop school violence before it starts.

"If we can teach them what the indicators are, the precursors to violence, we can use them as a force multiplier to reduce violence at school," Johnson said.

Rick Kaufman with Bloomington Public Schools was Communications Director for Jefferson County Schools when two students shot up Columbine High School in Colorado, killing 13 people and wounding two dozen others in 1999. For his part, he doesn't believe students need active shooter exercises like fire or tornado drills--they just need to know what to do if their school goes on lockdown, regardless of what the threat is.

Kaufman says state law requires schools do to five lockdowns, five evacuations and one severe weather drill every year.

He also says students usually look to teachers to decide what to do in a crisis, so putting staff through active shooter training is more effective than children.

"Do we need to walk down the halls and fire blanks to get a kid to react?" he said. "We want them to react when they hear lockdown or emergency situation or hide or anything of those natures that quickly."

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