One of the major complaints following every school shooting deals with the reality that, while everyone is talking about the need to do something, it’s rare for anything constructive to ever happen. One side simply wants to ban guns while the other proposes “hardening” the schools. And never the twain shall meet in most cases.
But not so in one Massachusetts school district. The city of Brockton is proactively moving to provide teachers with “active shooter preparation kits.” At first glance, I wondered if the kit might include a handgun and a few full magazines, but this is still Massachusetts we’re talking about here so firearms would be out of the question.
So what are the teachers getting? It’s a plastic bucket. And a hammer. And some… rope. And you can’t forget duct tape. (CBS Boston)
Teachers in Brockton are being given more than school supplies as the new year gets underway.
The district is providing educators with 5-gallon buckets that have a wooden doorstop, a hammer, 50 feet of rope, and a roll of duct tape. The kit is aimed to help teachers protect students in the case of an active shooter situation or other emergency.
Brockton Deputy Superintendent of Schools Mike Thomas told WBZ-TV that in the event of an emergency, teachers need to be able to think quickly on their feet.
A hammer sounded like an odd choice of weapon when facing somebody with a rifle or a handgun, but that’s not what it’s intended for. If the shooter is inside the school, possibly even out in the hallway, teachers in first-floor classrooms can use the hammer to bust the glass out of the windows and get the kids out that way. I’m guessing (though they don’t say so specifically) that teachers on higher floors could use the rope to lower children to the ground through the smashed window? I have no idea why duct tape is in there aside from the fact that duct tape can be used for almost anything, so why not?
I’m not throwing cold water on the entire plan. There’s also a doorstop in the bucket. While that might not sound like much, it’s actually a pretty good idea. Even if you lock the classroom door, the intruder might be able to smash the glass (or shoot it out) if the door has a window, reach in and unlock it. But a doorstop can actually prevent a good, solid door from being knocked in by someone throwing their shoulder into it. It might at least prove to be too much of an effort to get past the door and cause the shooter to move on down the hall.
Still, these seem like half measures. Somebody is still going to have to confront the shooter quickly and the fact is that the person responsible for doing so needs to be armed. It might take the police anywhere from five to ten minutes to arrive, assess the situation and enter. A determined shooter can get off a lot of rounds in that amount of time. Whether that armed defender is a trained teacher or a professional security officer should be left up to the district’s discretion. But one thing seems obvious here. This preparation kit isn’t a bad idea and it might even do some good under the right circumstances. But the person who winds up facing down the shooter is going to need more than duct tape.