Two fifteen-year-old students were killed and eighteen more people were injured. The attacks are not slowing down.
There is now active shooter training focused on slowing down the attackers themselves.
In a classroom at Gates-Chili High School in Rochester, New York, a classroom full of education leaders in the school district are being taught proactive was to respond to an active shooter inside their school.
Principals and assistant principals have been practicing going into lock-down, barricading doors and slowing down gunman.
“Most teachers come in. They do what they know and understand. Many of them don’t think ‘this is ever going to come here or ever happen to us.’ Those days are over,” said Kimberle Ward, Superintendent Gates Chili Central School District .
The training is being offered by Armoured One, a coalition made up of swat team members, law enforcement, military and more. The team studies school shootings and defines it’s mission as “making schools, colleges, and universities safer against major attacks and shootings.”
“There is a benefit to being on hinged sides of the doors. If the door opening into the hallway though I can immediately start shooting right?” said CEO and Co-Founder Tom Czyz.
For the day the teachers are now the students in raw, real life, reality training. The leaders will take what they learn back to their schools and ultimately take their schools back if a shooter is inside.
Lessons include “the mindset of a survivor”, “surviving the toughest eight minutes of your life”, “you are the first responder” and more. The brutal reality of school shootings weighs heavy on the minds of many teachers, like assistant principal Sara Mucino.
“It’s always in the back of your mind, I feel like every-time the door rings at the school, you are always analyzing who is walking through,” said Mucino.
She says the training has empowered her to make the right decision if a real shooter is actually in her school.
“It’s not about a procedure, its about keeping kids and staff safe,” said Mucino.
According to Armoured One, keeping yourself and students safe is about surviving the toughest eight minutes of your life.
It means keeping the gunman outside for as long a possible.
Co-Founder Tom Czyz says most schools have your typical, average glass at entry points.
“Glass is for rule followers, that’s what drives me absolutely nuts for school districts. They don’t get it. We had the doors locked. we have a buzzer system. You have to talk to the receptionist t get in…ok great. These people are murderers, they don’t care if they come up and break your glass. They are going to murder people,” said Czyz.
It only takes one shot to penetrate the glass and walk into the building.
“Alot of the times when they are locked out with glass its one shot and the are inside the school. So Sandy Hook was even one where its was one shot and he entered the school through a side light,” said Czyz.
Armoured One developed another level of security, meant to keep an active shooter away for as long as possible.
Shooter, attack and bomb resistant security films.
It can be applied to existing glass or added in between glass for extra strength against gunfire and explosions.
“We tried to make it as cost effective as possible. That was our goal going into this,” said co-founder Tino Amodei.
The security film offers a realistic option for cash strapped schools to sure up entry ways.
Full bullet proof glass is expensive and requires reinforced frames and costly installation.
“Where you don’t have to take the glass out and replace it , we can use the film. And it saves way more money then having to replace it with a glass that is equally as strong,” said Amodei.
It could be a cost effective difference make in that eight-minute window of life or death, allowing police to arrive.
“I’m still working as a law enforcement officer We are not taking CEO salaries on this. We are investing back into our schools we are keeping prices where they can afford it, because we are passionate about saving lives,” said Czyz.
Raising the conversation to more hands on shooter training can be a sensitive subject in communities across Connecticut and the U.S.
The reality is, shooters are sensitive – far from it. Maybe we shouldn’t be either.
“I’m hoping that this level of training will reduce the anxiety of “is this a traumatic experience”? Trauma or not – this is at our back door. And we need to be ready,” said Superintendent Kimberle Ward.