Last Thursday, the El Dorado Springs Sun called El Dorado Springs Police Chief Jarrod Schiereck to interview him about his opinions and knowledge on how to avoid school shootings. His answers brought up points that most of have never considered.
Q. I know you teach a class on how to survive a school shooting. What do you recommend schools do to avoid the possibility of a school shooting?
Train the students to survive an active shooter/violent intruder situation by training your students in a very similar manner you train your teachers. We have done this training with the 8th grade students the past few years, when I teach the self defense class. We go over the A.L.I.C.E. training system (Alert. Lockdown. Inform. Counter. Evacuate.) at their level to include simple self-defense techniques. For the teachers and administration, we go into much more detail concerning hands-on techniques and improvised weapons to counter the threat. I would recommend the schools also instruct all employees, including maintenance, janitorial and support staff members in active shooter/violent intruder training.
The Police Chief offers this training at no charge to schools. Previous to his certification as an instructor in that area, the El Dorado Springs School paid a company over $5,000 to train teachers, administrators and staff one time.
Q. The President recently discussed the possibility of arming properly trained school staff. What do you think about that?
I like the idea of the appropriately trained person carrying the right equipment to deal with an active shooter/violent intruder. When we talk about “properly trained” that leaves it open to interpretation. I have no problem with “properly trained” school staff. What I mean by that is CCW (concealed carry) and advanced handgun shooting is not the only training they need. The proper training in my personal opinion, as a defensive tactics instructor and a firearms instructor, is not only the ability to shoot, but the ability to move people out of your way so you can move toward the threat, as well as, weapons retention training (retaining your firearm when a person is trying to take it from you).
You can be the best shooter, but if you don’t have the skills to move people out of your way to close with and neutralize the threat or prevent a person from taking your gun, you are not properly trained. Range training of these personnel should consist of simulating a high stress environment.
I think we need to remember that armed school staff is just like law enforcement. In the aspect of when we show up, we bring a gun with us. So now there is a gun in the environment of the school. I believe that well trained administrative and maintenance personnel would be a better option than a teacher with a concealed firearm in the classroom setting. Administrative and maintenance personnel are continually moving about the campus, this would make it more difficult to plan harm against the schools.
I’m concerned with arming teachers in the classroom, because good concealable firearms are small in order to be concealed and the holsters are not grab resistant. They are not meant to be. They are for concealment. I believe the smaller concealable weapons are not tactically sound to engage an active shooter threat because you may need to take a more precise shot at a given distance.
So weapons retention, the ability to understand how to move people out of your way and understand the path of the bullet are so important to prevent bystanders from being hit.
People are probably going to have to step forward and volunteer. It will take a special mindset to be able to use a firearm at a moment’s notice. Military veterans would be ideal because they have been in high stress situations before.
There are other things to think about: Who is paying for the gun? Who is paying for the ammunition? Who is paying for the initial training? Who is paying for the continual training?
Q. What do you think about using frangible bullets?
Frangible bullets don’t work on body armor and have been known to fail against heavy clothing. Even some standard hollow point bullets have not penetrated heavy clothing at certain distances.
Frangible bullets are great for soft tissue and soft clothing and will fragment upon striking a barrier. The frangible ammunition I have fired in the past was not as accurate or as consistent as conventional ammunition.
Q. We had a suggestion to use rubber bullets. I called a gun shop. You can’t even buy rubber bullets.
Rubber bullets can be lethal when striking a person in the head, neck or center of the chest, sometimes rubber bullets have been known to penetrate and cause excessive bleeding. Rubber bullets on a person wearing body armor may not stop them.
Q. Do we do good background checks?
Here’s what we are lacking in background checks: If you have been forcibly committed for mental health treatment, by state and federal law, that information is protected even from law enforcement. A person is not supposed to be eligible to purchase a firearm, but there is no way to get that information. If they say no on the application, how is anybody going to know?
Q. I think that schools should never announce who they are going to let carry guns.
I believe that information would be protected as it has to do with employer and employee issues that concern the safety of the school and students.
Q. I was in a gunshop in Springfield Friday and noticed that the employee staff all carried openly with larger handguns in grab resistsant holsters. What do think about open carry for school staff?
Open carry in the school?
Then you might as well have an armed security guard. That puts it under a whole different idea.