By Emily Garcia
As the number of shootings on school campuses across the country continues to climb, a local teacher argues that campuses of all types and sizes need to be prepared for an active shooter situation.
Mark Williams is an English teacher at Central High School. He was a special agent for the Organized Crime Division of the State Attorney General’s Office, and he also is the author of “Forty-Seven Seconds,” a book that educated instructors on securing their classroom in emergency situations. Williams said offering free concealed carry weapons permits to teachers isn’t a step in the right direction because the school district’s policy isn’t changing.
If the policy did change, Williams said he would carry a weapon on campus, but it would cost the district millions of dollars in refresher training courses such as close-quarterly shoot training, high-level stress training and liability insurance.
“When I shoot the suspect, their family will sue,” said Williams. “When the bullet goes through the suspect and through the walls of the classrooms behind them and strikes an innocent child, that parent will sue as well.”
During a school shooting, Williams suggests students “get small and get quiet.” Shooters often open fire at hip level, about 36 inches high. Williams’ tips include sitting against a brick or block wall, covering the windows, and turn off all lights and cell phones. Barricade the door but if that is the only door, you’ll have to evacuate through the same door.
In “Forty-Seven Seconds,” which is subtitled, “What educators need to know and do during a very bad day,” Williams explains that it takes an average of 47 seconds to secure a classroom with a plan.
“There are schools in the North Central area that are not practicing, training or rehearsing, not only lockdowns but also shelter in place or even evacuations,” said Williams. School policies and procedures need to reflect these increasingly dangerous situations.