Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD8) directed multiple federal agencies to work together to identify preparedness goals to address the greatest threats posed to the security of our nation. These threats included terrorist threats, domestic and foreign, and Active Assailant events. PPD8 was written in January of 2013 and went into effect in July of 2013. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identified five Mission Areas needed to be addressed for a governmental or non-governmental agency to be considered prepared. These same five Mission Areas are written into the FEMA Guide For High Quality Emergency Operations Plans. This guide came out in July of 2013 and is available on line for free. It contains everything schools and school districts need to do in terms of planning in order to be prepared for natural or manmade disaster incidents, including these five Mission Areas:
I have read or referenced the FEMA Guide hundreds of times throughout the course of my work, and nowhere in that guide did I see reference to Overreacting or Knee Jerk Reactions as preparedness Mission Areas. Yet in the wake of last week’s Parkland FL. school massacre, I’m hearing a lot of just that from a lot of people, including representatives of our government. In my opinion as a school safety professional, the most dangerous of those knee jerk overreactions is arming school teachers. I offer that opinion as a trained professional in both law enforcement and school safety, based on research in both industries. The day we take to arming teachers as a solution to school violence is also the day we must raise the white flag of surrender to the domestic terrorists too often mistakenly referred to as “School Shooters.