Terry Martin Ph.D
BANG, BANG, HALT
February 23, 2018 As a mental health provider I salute Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones who offered free concealed-carry training classes to teachers in the Cincinnati area. It is vital to fight back, and to be able to fight back with efficiency.
The sheriff tells it like it is. “I’m one of those people that speak out,” he said. “I feel I have the bully pulpit, and I use it to get things done. Even if you hate guns, you need to be educated on guns.”
From a psychological point of view we have to empower our teachers and school staff. They should know they have a chance––more than a chance––to protect themselves and the children we entrust to them.
Sheriff Jones reflected on the Florida killings and the way politicians form committees and subcommittees and blather on, “Yap, yap, yap,” he said. “And you know what gets done? Absolutely nothing.”
Thank you sheriff. In my opinion, not protecting the teachers and their students is victimized thinking and must be dealt with, immediately.
But let’s do away with suggestions like: If an intruder enters and begins shooting, any and all actions to stop the shooter are justified including moving about the room to lessen accuracy, throwing books, computers, phones or book bags to create confusion.
Good grief. That’s a remake of 1950s air raid drills.
I’m a psychologist, mother and grandmother with family members who are teachers. I’m also a gun owner and an empowered female. Why on earth would I not arm myself in the classroom?
Sheriff Jones offered free training. The takers jumped at the opportunity and he had to stop signups at 300. I hope other law enforcement officials will do the same. Get a weapon, get the training and get ready.
Our focus needs to extend beyond the children and the psychological damage they suffer. What about their parents, families and communities?
The trend is depressing. Let’s develop policies that make the shooter think twice about coming to a school––and barring his entrance should he arrive.
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February 23, 2018 Looking for answers on what needs to be done to secure our students in the wake of the Parkland, Florida tragedy? Look no further than the Lakota Local School District in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In an open letter to the Lakota Community, Superintendent Matthew J. Miller talked about safety initiatives that have been implemented in recent years to protect the students and staff.
“Some aspects of our district safety plan are visible to the public, while others are not,” he said. The schools have safe and secure entrances. There are strict procedures regarding how visitors are admitted. Lakota increased the number of uniformed members of the Butler County Sheriff’s Office and the West Chester Police Department. Their visible presence allows them to build relationships with the students and become another trusted adult to confide in.
They continue to investigate and introduce new protocols––several that will be announced in the coming weeks. Staff and student training takes place all year long––natural disaster drill for fires or tornadoes. Lakota uses ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training about what to do in the event of an intruder.
Students’ health and well-being is part of safety and security. Lakota pays attention to social and emotional needs by continually expanding mental health services. Their partnership with Mindpeace, a non-profit advocate for access to high-quality mental healthcare is in place in high schools and will be in junior highs next year.
Grant Us Hope is another Lakota partnership. Hope Squads, peer-to-peer suicide prevention groups encourage students to “see something, say something” when concerns arise about fellow students. The concept is tested regularly regarding questionable social media posts and is encouraged through the Text-a-Tip program in partnership with local law enforcement.
“The work never stops and safety plans are never finalized,” Superintendent Miller said. “Safety protocols are reviewed regularly by a district safety team which consists of district administrators, all of our School Resource Officers, a member of our school board and representatives from our local law enforcement agencies.”
Lakota’s safe education practices might be worth national attention.
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