Expert weighs in on school safety solutions to deter active shootings
"These quick easy, fixes are what we're seeing not only not necessarily reduce our problems, but increase them," said Michael Dorn, Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit organization that focuses on school safety.
When it comes to protecting children in schools, do our best intentions equal our best outcomes?
Michael Dorn has years of experience analyzing school safety.
Dorn said some of the common safety measures schools are implementing, such as metal detectors and ALICE training, are not showing success compared to alternatives.
Metal detectors are extremely costly, he said, and to be truly effective, a school would need a lot more resources and X-Rays if they want to be sure a student is not carrying a gun.
"The big part is the backpacks, the book bags, that takes X-ray," he said.
He said instead, random metal detection in a smaller group of students is more effective and less expensive.
Another measure he said is not showing success is some of the active-shooter training.
"Untrained people are performing better than people trained in ALlCE or Run Hide Fight," he said, "Both of these very popular but poorly designed trained programs."
He said the training is overwhelming when the most important thing to do if there's a shooter is to immediately go into lockdown and call 911.
"The opportunity to save lives in this type of case is in the first 20 to 30 seconds," he said.
Dorn said a huge safety measure that does work is student supervision.
Faculty should be able to know where any given student at all times is to ensure safety, he said.
One effective way to do this is using electronic hall passes.
"That is absolutely one of the best investments you can make," he said.
The pass allows teachers to approve or deny if a student wants to leave class electronically, and shows faculty how long the student has been gone and exactly where they are.
Dorn added another key focus schools need to crack down on more is learning how to identify self-harm and how to accurately assess when any threats are made.
"Having police officers, mental health, and law enforcement officials, trained to work as a team," he said.
He said almost all active shooters intend to hurt themselves, so self-harm prevention could potentially stop an active shooting before it happens.
Another solution is better camera systems with analytics that can pick up abnormal activity like a student climbing a fence.