Summer is gone and now we get to enjoy some cooler weather. With that said, we are still keeping the heat on our safety program. This past month we have learned so much about how to prevent bullying, our #mustangSAFE character has gone on many adventures and still has a full year ahead of him on learning important safety rules that NSCISD has to offer. The school bus rally was a success, and the community and our local first responders have come on strong and have begun to really help us, not only with supplies but also with support. We are just getting started, but at NSCISD safety is our priority, and we will continue to promote #mustangSAFE to benefit all of our Mustangs.

7 Lessons Learned from the Sandy Hook School Shooting

Five analysts reviewed the Sandy Hook School Shooting Summary Report that was released by Newtown, Conn., officials Nov. 25, 2013. The conclusions are supported by discussions with several people who were directly involved in the incident. The conclusions that follow are particularly important, because they counter theories that were discussed extensively following the shooting but have now either been disproven or brought into question.

  1. Actions by school personnel saved lives.
  2. Locking interior doors worked.
  3. Lockdowns must be implemented quickly.
  4. All school staff must be trained and empowered to act.
  5. Staff, students must be taught how to respond under stress and on the fly.
  6. Sandy Hook principal probably didn’t have a chance to fight back.
  7. Rumors after Sandy Hook prompted many schools to implement unproven strategies.

The Sandy Hook report indicates that police response times were much faster than many people had alleged prior to the release of this report. At the same time, the killer had a considerable amount of time to carry out his attack and appears only to have been impeded by locked doors, potential victims hiding, potential victims fleeing the two unlocked classrooms where most of the violence occurred and other staff and students in distant parts of the school fleeing the building.

As we have seen in numerous past school shootings, what saves lives in one situation can result in death in another slightly different situation. This provides further evidence that there is no simple and clear-cut type of approach for active shooter situations.

This report supports the research of a number of notable experts on high-stakes decision making such as Dr. Gary Klein, Gavin deBecker, Amanda Ripley, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman as well as our research at Safe Havens. Experts in these fields repeatedly discuss the importance of such research-based concepts as mental simulation and providing a broad base of experience to prepare for emergencies.

Perhaps most importantly, as with many previous mass casualty school shootings, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting report summary demonstrates why it is so dangerous to dramatically modify procedures based on early accounts of such large-scale events. Many schools have spent considerable time, energy and money to implement security and emergency preparedness changes based on conclusions that have now been proven to be false or in one instance above, questionable.

Most of the lessons we have learned from the Sandy Hook Summary Report have been learned multiple times in past K-12 school attacks. Addressing gaps that have been identified as far back as 1958, should be a priority rather than rushing to implement what we think might work before adopting concepts that have been proven to work for decades.

In the Works

Crisis Counseling cooperation with Gonzales and Waelder.

Poloma Place out of Floresville have partnered with UTSA and have come up with a three day hands on training for counselors on how to set up critical incident response in schools for incidents such as suicide, death of student or faculty member, and catastrophic events. We have reached out to surrounding districts to join our co-op. Gonzales and Waelder will be joining us in the training and after all is said and done we will be able to support each other if a traumatic event were to happen on any of our campuses. Many times there will be a need for support of multiple counselors.

Hand-Washing and Cough Etiquette

Two simple things that can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases are effective hand-washing and the use of cough etiquette techniques. NSCISD employees visit with students to teach them about proper hand-washing techniques to include soap, water and 20 seconds of lathering and rinsing. Students are also taught proper cough etiquette by coughing into their elbow to avoid spraying the air or other people with germs. NSCISD keeps additional hand sanitizer and tissues for students to use in classrooms and commons areas.

4 Types of Bullying All Parents Should be Aware Of:

1. Verbal Bullying

Verbal bullying can include teasing, inappropriate comments, name calling, threats and even offensive hand gestures. Any of these acts in written form also constitute verbal bullying.

Such bullying can lead to psychological harm for students, such as lower self-esteem, anxiety or depression

2. Social Bullying

Social bullying can include intentionally leaving someone out of activities, excluding them from lunch tables or other groups, telling other children not to be friends with someone, embarrassing someone in public and rumor-spreading.

This type of bullying can have the same psychological effects as verbal bullying but is more likely to lead to isolation and other anti-social behavior. Parents.com says this type of bullying is more common among female students.

3. Physical Bullying

Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing and stealing or breaking someone’s belongings.

Victims of this bullying may have cuts, bruises, damaged belongings or clothes, headaches or stomach aches.

4. Cyberbullying

This emerging form of bullying includes many of the same behaviors as social and verbal bullying, only they take place online. There are countless ways that students can communicate these days, but social media has made it easier to target individuals and publish threatening, hurtful or offensive information about someone.

Victims of cyberbullying will exhibit similar behaviors to victims of social or verbal bullying, but it may be joined by a dramatic change in their use of social media and other online channels.