Protecting Schools in Canada

The tragedy that unfolded in an elementary school in Connecticut, USA, could happen anywhere, even Canda. We have already had a few “school-shootings”. The reasons are simple:

  • schools are large soft targets,
  • schools are laid out like prisons with no ready means of escape or security beyond locking doors,
  • the media have spread the news that madness and violence gets intense coverage, and
  • madness and firearms are everywhere.

“A small town Ohio school board voted unanimously to allow four employees who have permits to carry concealed weapons to bring their guns to school once they have some tactical training, the school superintendent said on Friday.”
see Ohio town to allow some employees to bring guns to school – Ottawa Sun.

This story, about securing schools, is not important in the large scheme of things but that a newspaper in Canada bothers to write about it/cover the story is a major change. No legislation or wishful thinking can make madness and firearms (or other deadly means) go away so schools have to improve security. A layered defence is required to significantly reduce the dangers: better school routines, better buildings (layout, doors, windows and locks mostly), armed guards and training of staff and students in how to respond to threats. Some of these are already being done but fiscal restraints prevent most schools from doing what must be done. Federal or provincial programmes should be set up to make resources available to improve security in schools. There is no time to “study the matter” and “form a committee”. Gather the expertise, form a plan and execute before the next tragedy visits our schools. Fill in the gaps we have in anti-bullying, anger-management programmes and improve physical security now. Schools have a full plate. They need help to do this quickly. The news media have lit the fuse on the next event.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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6 Responses to Protecting Schools in Canada

  1. oiaohm wrote, “Psychos come from all walks of life and every economic class. –
    This includes security and police at times.”

    This is a specious argument. The probability of a psycho being on the staff of any particular school is tiny compared to the probability of their being a psycho in the community. Do the maths. Assuming each member of the community has a probability of 10-6 of being a psycho and there are 106 in the community the probability of a psycho being nearby is near certain while the probability of a psycho being on staff is ~10-5.

  2. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson you have stated exactly why security personal in schools is stupid.

    Robert Pogson
    –Psychos come from all walks of life and every economic class. —
    This includes security and police at times.

    –The psycho that goes under the radar is not caught at all and they are the most dangerous/capable/”creative”.–
    Exactly why would not a person what to kill a lot of kids train to be a security guard placed in schools.

    Robert Pogson
    –There should be some rule of thumb, so many armed guards per hundred people in one place, just as we regulate air-flow or window-area.–

    This does not work since the one the security guards could be the problem. Number two the security guards will be known where they are to the most common school attacker. The most common school attacker is a school student so you are basically sending guards to die the student will have first strike most likely close quarters. First strike killing the guard why in hell have a guard. Lets talk what can work.

    Deploy threw building audio sensors like fire alarms that detect gun shot signature. Ok does not work against knifes or bows but its a start. These do detect silenced weapons where a human security guard near by might miss. Of course these sensors on speed dial to off site assistance. This could be police or could be private security.

    Next planned placement of items like Rule 1 of taking down prey you must be able to see it. Items like smoke-cloak night vision gear does not help you either. Now if the first shot triggered the school to fill with mist from the cloak devices you have now removed the effectiveness of long range combat. You have now forced the combat into close quarters. This returns the advantage to the unarmed who out number the attacker.

    Non lethal solutions deployed in the school site. Removes risk of guard having a weapon problem killing someone. Also removes risk of Guard having a strike first event from attacker resulting in dead guard.

    Next how do you improve on this. There is no reason if you are not a police officer or security office doing his job to have a firearm inside 2 blocks of a school.

    Video security cameras in schools don’t go down that well. Issue here is deploying a Video security system without a smoke cloak like system to respond is not helpful. Lot of schools in the usa have a video security system but no non lethal response system.

    The system must have an offence basically. Non lethal target slowing offence is a good and a safe start.

    Deploying security guards in schools should really get the same response as deploying Area Denial Weapons System in a school. Live weapons as first response does not help you if they are neutralised or captured. You can expect that the most common event for in school security guard will be captured or neutralised. Since the common attacker will know where the security guard is.

    So if the security cannot be on site due to risk of capture. Detection and non-lethal first response is your best outcomes.

    Australia along with other countries have noticed drop in crime where cameras are deployed to a central system. But even a bigger drop where there are active non lethal systems that can be deployed to slow down escape or getting to next target.

    Now you think about this school sees on security system attacker coming. With a targeted room PA system use of smoke cloak like items. You now make attackers life finding prey very hard.

    It is still possible to follow attackers movements in a fully smoke cloaked room. Sound of movement. I forget to say gun shot sensors can be placed in floors and track people movements as well. To track and move people away from an attacker you don’t have to provide attacker with visibility.

    Of course there is also like jails with computer controlled doors and other items to slow down attackers. Multi levels of response. Guns will get on site eventionally its only important to slow attacker down until guns do.

  3. I wonder whether commemorating horror is the right thing to do. The world will move on and the commemoration will fade. Perhaps an annual event will suffice instead of a new religion.

  4. Ray, wrote, “preventing these shootings by offering much better mental health services”

    As long as there is a stigma attached to mental health services and a fee it will never be enough. Psychos come from all walks of life and every economic class. In the USA where millions have no health-care insurance and fee for service is the norm, it is not going to improve any time soon. The Canadian system/MediCare makes more sense but there’s still not enough resources so MDs dole out mind-altering drugs willy-nilly. Psychotic episodes and waiting-lists don’t work well together. The psycho that goes under the radar is not caught at all and they are the most dangerous/capable/”creative”. You could train drivers well, test them frequently and still you should do up your seat-belt. Schools and other public gathering places should have guards. There should be some rule of thumb, so many armed guards per hundred people in one place, just as we regulate air-flow or window-area.

  5. Ray says:

    There is a much better idea than gun control, or by having armed guards. It’s preventing these shootings by offering much better mental health services. For example child can easily get private, anonymous and free counseling in Canada. This practice could be used in the US, so people can counsel with total privacy, and prevent these shootings. But most importantly, reaching out to people at risk is the best way, since school shooters tend to be virtually isolated from society. See this link to see in a sense what he might think:

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