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To put that expectation on young, emotional, scared, frightened children is really a slippery slope. It has a high risk and higher probability of escalating a situation than it would to neutralize the situation.
They are asking them to make some quite serious judgments that even trained adults are challenged to make. It is an unrealistic and highly risky expectation and burden to put on kids. While this emotional appeal obviously strikes the chord of anxious, concerned parents, it fails to recognize many critical implementation considerations ranging from child learning and development factors, to implementation issues such as whether school districts could even possibly provide the quality and quantity of training necessary.
Questions and Concerns About Schools Teaching Children to Attack Armed Gunmen A number of implementation questions and concerns exist about school districts taking on the task of providing training to their students to throw items and physically attack armed gunmen.
These include, but are not limited to: It is unrealistic to expect 25 students and a teacher to react simultaneously, with split-second accuracy and timing, when a person with a gun unexpectedly walks into a room.
Coaches spend hours, weeks and years working with youth to perfect athletic skills, and team dynamics often do not generate such skilled snap judgment capabilities and physical precision in non-life-and-death circumstances.
We do not have a student show up to one football or basketball game practice for an hour or two, never come back to practice and then expect them to play effectively six months later if we toss them into a game at a critical point. Military units work for weeks, months and years to develop such skills.
And police departments train patrol officers extensively, and SWAT officers practice intensely throughout their assignment in a SWAT unit, to develop such skills and abilities. How could anyone who understands training, and especially anyone who understands child learning and behavior, believe than an hour or two presentation or video would adequately prepare students to fight armed intruders?
Truly effective physical self-defense training requires both extensive instruction and countless hours of practice.
Most experienced school safety consultants, who understand the intricacies how schools work and the constraints placed on them, know most schools considering such training would not be capable of offering either the quality or quantity of training necessary to accomplish the goals behind such proposed training.
While proponents of such training can point to real and hypothetical scenarios where it may have some impact, we can also look at situations where it could have escalated a situation.
For example, in the Fall of in a Cleveland, Ohio, suburb, a high school student walked into a classroom with a gun drawn and then went out into the hallway, fired a round in the ceiling and one into a trophy case.
If students automatically start hurling textbooks and ipods at the student when he first walked into the room with the gun drawn, many could have been shot. School shooting threats have included students such as the individual above who could have, but did not, harm anyone due to the intervention of adults.
Would we want everyone to start throwing items and attacking an armed person, with questionable probability of success, only to trigger more anger and shootings by these typically mentally unstable persons who may not have otherwise plan on shooting everyone?
We also saw the extreme situation of dozens of terrorists who seized a school in in Beslan, Russia. Would we want children to try to physically attack a couple dozen intruders armed with high powered weaponry, most likely to place themselves in a position of guaranteed to be shot on-sight? And while some incidents with armed students and other individuals have involved the shooting of adult school staff members, many others have not.
Advocates for training students to attack armed persons seem to overlook the role of the adults in the school.
Not every situation is going to be clear cut in how it may unfold. Responses to unfolding incidents by police and adults in schools will vary based upon the facts and nature of unfolding incidents.
Responsibility for taking the lead with these judgment calls should be the primary responsibility of well trained adult professionals, not emotional, frightened children. It is simply not realistic to recommend such confrontational training for young children due to their developmental levels and related factors.Founded in , UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.
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