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The Terrorist Threat To Our Schools Pt. 2 by the N.T.A.R.C.

(NTARC) After posting “The Terrorist Threat To Our Schools Pt 1” , we received several emails inquiring what can be done to prevent or prepare for such an attack on our schools. In Part 2 of the series, we have put together information from some of the best resources we could find, along with our own. Each family must decide what is best for their situation. Our hope is that you find the information detailed below, useful. If you would like detailed information on what to do for specific types of events.

What You Can Do As A Parent

Most importantly, plan now. Take the necessary steps today that will ensure you and your family’s safety.

Be Alert …Get An Alert

The sooner you are aware that a terror attack is underway, the sooner you can react and the greater your chance for staying safe. We strongly recommend that you subscribe to an Emergency Alert Notification service and keep your mobile phone, text pager or PDA with you at all times.

We use and recommend Alerts USA. Yes, we advertise on this site for them and there’s a reason. Their alert notification service is in our opinion, beyond comparison. The system alerts you regardless of location, with near real-time notification of terrorist attacks, threats, warnings and advisories. The alert is sent directly to your cell phone, text pager or PDA and is available on any mobile device, on any network, anywhere in the United States. This is the same alert used by many government agencies, law enforcement and counter-terrorism organizations.

If an attack is underway, whether it’s in a school, a mall, a subway or any other location, one of the best safeguards you can have is an early notification.

When you receive an alert…ACT IMMEDIATELY.

Create a Plan

Preparing for a potential terrorist strike provides you your best chance of survival in the event an attack actually takes place. Preparedness should always be considered in the home, school and workplace for any unexpected event.

Keep Current Authorizations On File

Most schools will only allow an authorized family member or guardian to pick up a child from school. Be sure to have all authorization forms signed and registered with the school. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pickup. And, ask what type of authorization the school may require to release a child to someone you designate, if you are not able to pick up your child. During times of emergency the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.

Designate A “Point” person

Next, establish a plan for picking up your child in the event of an actual attack. Who is the closest “point of contact” authorized to pick up your child? It needs to be someone who is prepared to drop everything at a moments notice and proceed to the school immediately when notified.

If you work some distance from the school, find someone closer. The moment an alert goes out or you hear that a school somewhere has been seized or is under attack, activate your plan and above all, remain calm.

What To Do If An Attack Takes Place

If it’s your child’s school…

This will go against every instinct that you have as a parent but if it’s your child’s school that has been attacked, DO NOT GO TO THE SCHOOL. Terrorist’s plans that have been uncovered show they are counting on you showing up along with the news media. When you arrive it’s very likely that you’ll be greeted by car bombs strategically placed within the school parking lot, sniper fire, or worse.

This is not a normal crime scene and law enforcement will most likely need to take immediate tactical action. That action may include live fire and engagement with the terrorists. Your presence will only slow down deployment during a very critical time.

In a Beslan type attack, law enforcement knows the terrorists have no exit strategy. They have come with a single intent. Stay away and let law enforcement do what they are trained to do.

If it’s NOT your child’s school that has been attacked

Immediately after being alerted, contact your child using a pre-determined code on a cell phone or pager. Don’t tell your child that this is related to a terrorist attack. Your child should be taught in advance that whenever they receive a call from you using this code, they should politely excuse themselves from the classroom and go to a designated location to be picked up. Be calm, keep your child calm.

Next, contact the school and ask to speak to the person in charge of releasing students. (You should already have the number programmed into you phone) Inform the school that an unexpected situation has come up and you will need to pick up your child immediately. Let the administrator know that you have already paged your child to let them know you or the person you have authorized is on their way.

Have your child picked up and leave the area without delay. When picking your child up, observe what is going on in around the school. If you see suspicious behavior, do not confront the individuals involved.

Take note of the details:

S – Size (Jot down the number of people, gender, ages, and physical descriptions)

A – Activity (Describe exactly what they are doing)

L – Location (Provide exact location)

U – Uniform (Describe what they are wearing, including shoes)

T – Time (Provide date, time, and duration of activity)

E – Equipment (Describe vehicle, make, color etc., license plate, camera, guns, etc)

Suspicious activity is often recalled after an event. We must train ourselves to be on the lookout for things that are out of the ordinary and arouse suspicions.

Report details To Law Enforcement Immediately

You will also need to make some decisions based upon your own circumstances and the situation.

What will you do if school has already been informed of the event and is in lock-down, or in the process of being locked down? Find out your schools plans for such an event and make sure that other families are informed through PTA, etc.

Should you alert the school to the potential threat? Chances are your child’s school will not come under attack and pulling them out would only be out of an abundance of caution. This determination can only be made as the situation presents itself.

What Can Schools and Administrators Do?

Source – (School Shooting Contingency Plans & Considerations)
By Dave Grossman

Law enforcement agencies and school districts need to have contingency plans for school shootings in place AND practice them. Although we are thinking primarily about school shootings, these contingency plans also apply to mass murders and active shooters in other large areas (hospitals, malls, workplace shootings, sporting events, churches, etc.). In particular, as we worry about the possibility of terrorist attacks, we have to recognize that one model of terrorist attack is an active shooter! One of the worst Middle East terrorist attacks was a Jewish active shooter in a Mosque. We MUST recognize the fact that if two teenage boys in Littleton or Jonesboro could commit mass murders that stunned a nation, then an organized group of trained terrorists could do MUCH worse. The terrorists we are currently fighting want VERY much to hurt us, and the way they can hurt us the most if by killing our kids.

You may want to do the planning/recon process discreetly. But there CAN be great value in having the SWAT team do a recon during school hours. The kids will see it and many potential killers will be deterred. (Some people think that this will raise the fear level, others say there is already a VERY high fear level.) Probably don’t want to go over the top, ie not in tac gear, but in uniform. The school administration might not agree that there is a positive value to doing this and you might have to compromise: just a handful of officers, say 3 teams of 2, in uniform, checking different aspects throughout the day, and then comparing notes the next day.

If you want to prep the kids, your guidance to the kids should be 2 fold:

• While the shooters are in the school the kids should either get out, asap, or (according to teachers’ guidance) lock themselves into rooms possibly even barricading doors. These killers are not out to take hostages. In every single one of these school shooting situations (and the church/daycare/brokerage shootings), so far, there are no hostages. The killers are on a spree, out to kill as many people as possible, and “take no prisoners” could well be their motto.

• When the SWAT teams or police enter, the guidance to the kids should be to: “Hit the deck and stay down until told otherwise.”

Preparing the teachers, and drilling them is at the HEART of the operation. This should be handled like a fire plan (the model of fire planning and prep should at the heart of school shooting planning/prep). Just as the fire department is the lead player in school (and workplace) fire planning, so MUST the police department be the lead planner in school (and workplace!) violence planning. Each classroom needs to be assessed, just like each classroom needs a separate fire plan. In some rooms, you can secure students in the room, locking and/or barricading doors. Other locations may not be securable (like the library in Columbine High!) and the drill must be to move to another room that can be secured. The room does not have to be Ft. Knox! It just has to slow down an intruder/shooter long enough for the police to arrive and respond.

Part of the drill includes the teacher actually dialing the phone number to report emergencies. (Remember, most classroom phones require dialing a number(s) to get an outside line, and THEN dialing 911, this MUST be rehearsed.)

Securing/lockdown in the room is one option, and the other is to evacuate the school. The evacuation plan is already in place (fire/bomb drills) so all we need is to add one new drill/option to the plan, and a clear signal for the execution of that plan. The very WORST thing that can happen is to try to secure your kids in an unsecurable location, like the Columbine High library; may we NEVER forget the lessons learned from THAT tragic mass murder.
Choosing when to lockdown a school is tricky business, like choosing when to evacuate. Periodic fire drills: a must. Evacuate in response to a real fire: a must. Evacuate in response to bomb scare: a judgment call. Any school that does not have an evac plan, and periodically work the plan is morally negligent and legally liable. In the same way, any school that does not have a lockdown drill is equally negligent and liable. Deciding WHEN to execute that lockdown is a judgment call.

According to the US Secret Service, in 1998 alone we had 35 kids MURDERED in acts of school violence, and a QUARTER OF A MILLION were seriously injured. Meanwhile, it has been many years since a single child was killed or injured by school fire. Remember, the likelihood of having your children killed or injured in a school shooting is THOUSANDS of times greater than the probability of them being killed or injured in a school fire. Thus, we have the moral obligation to spend AT LEAST as much time and energy on school violence (the thing that IS killing our kids) as we do on school fires. Every school has sprinklers, alarms, drills, extinguishers, etc, to prep for fires, so why don’t we prepare for the thing that IS killing our kids? Now, with the threat of terrorist activity, the risk is even greater. (NOTE: We are NOT saying that fire prep is not important, but that this is AT LEAST as important as school fire prep.)

In every case the killer (or the terrorist) is looking for a “soft” target. They want to make a “statement” by killing as many innocents as possible. They know that they can’t get on the news if they don’t have a good, or “record,” body count. If we can “harden” the target, it can deter a LOT of potential killers. The shooter in the LA Jewish daycare center in 1999 looked at 2 other such sites before he found one without security.

So, one thing that I am encouraging LEOs to do is to recon local schools. Spend a whole day at the school, priority on High School, then Jr. High. Discuss and observe possible approach routes and assembly areas while school is opening (masses of busses and cars dropping off kids, this is what happened in Pearl) and closing (same), and during lunch when kids are packed in the cafeteria (this is what happened in Springfield), also take a look at a school assembly (when the whole student body is together in an auditorium for an event) and discuss how you would handle a shooting during that, and think about kids as snipers on the roof (the University of Texas “black tower” scenario), and possibly a shooting/bombing at a sporting event. (I am very surprised that we have not seen a school sporting event hit yet, especially as much as the profile of the average shooter is such a “jock-hater.”)

Have a plan in mind for each such scenario, and then get the plans, routes, and checklist of assignments/tasks set up, and PRIORITIZED, so that as officers and adjacent SWAT teams show up the onsite commander can assign them to the next priority task on your list. I would place a HIGH priority on initial entry, going in FAST, as soon as some of the SWAT team is in place, especially if shots are still going on. (Indeed, the need for rapid, dynamic entry is so critical that many agencies are training and prepping their street officers to go in asap, rather than the usual containment and wait for SWAT scenario.)

Think carefully about where to position your sniper teams to get maximum coverage/supporting fire. (Depending on the school layout, you may want to think about bringing a sniper team in with you, as there may be some very long shots INSIDE some of these large schools.) Other available assets (police/deputies) should be assigned to

1) perimeter security (so the shooters can’t escape while the team goes in) and then to securing fleeing kids (protecting them, AND to be sure the shooters aren’t escaping with the evacuees).

2) checking out potential secondary strike ambush sites.

There is a risk to this rapid entry strategy: the entry team may be vulnerable to bombs or walking into an ambush. The probability of this is low, but real; but I submit that the warrior’s job is to move toward the sound of the guns, to go in harm’s way. You are placing your life at risk, but that is what we get paid for, and most of us would swap our lives, one-for-one for a kid’s life any day. If we go in with adequate body armor, shields, and helmets, the average bomb probably won’t represent a life threatening danger, but as long as you hear shots going off, I submit that there is a moral obligation to go in and go in FAST, but PREPARED and fully equipped.

Especially watch for secondary strikes:

• bomb scare or fire alarm, then

• the killers shoot at/bomb the packed kids in assembly areas outside. (This is what happened in Jonesboro, and what the kids in Littleton tried to do.) THE FUTURE OF SCHOOLSHOOTINGS (and workplace violence) IS FOR THE PERP TO USE A COMBINATION OF BOMBS AND GUNS. The video games train the kids for this. In the video games, the kids use bombs, and then follow up with guns to get a high score. When the bombs go off, BE ALERT FOR SECONDARY STRIKES, with guns. Establish security ASAP. This means we MUST review assembly procedures with the school administrators, assess the assembly locations outside the school and try to find places that have cover, or cover close by. (DON’T trap them in the middle of a big killing field with nowhere close to run) and perhaps have teachers/SROs check/go directly to ideal sniper positions, AND have them check for possible bombs in the assembly areas and move to an alternative site of there is anything suspicious. Integrate school security and the Jr. ROTC staff into these kind of things (checking out potential ambush sites during fire drills, etc). Be sure that they are especially vigilant in executing such checks/plans if it is an unplanned fire drill or bomb scare or real bomb blast

(vs planned fire drills when the average kid would not know that it was going to happen).

DO NOT evacuate into parking lots! The easiest most deadly kind of bomb to manufacture and transport is a car bomb: some mini-McVeigh with a propane tank and remote igniter in his car, or (even worse) 400 lbs of primed fertilizer in the trunk of his old beater. If the kids must evacuate into a parking lot, make it the faculty parking lot and RIGIDLY control access to that lot. (Consistently tow all unauthorized cars immediately.) When the teacher evacs the kids to the lawn or faculty parking lot, LOOK for anything that does not belong there (a box, a bag, a pipe, or freshly upturned dirt) and STAY AWAY from those objects.

The kind of plans you come up with: element to evac kids, inner/outer perimeter, sniper overwatch, rapid entry while shots are firing, dealing with bombs, all of these kind of plans will apply to day care centers and churches too, which have, sadly, been increasingly the targets.

All contingency plans should also incorporate the fire department’s preplanned response to the school. The fire department already knows where all of the utility panels, ductwork, and conduit are located. They usually have building blueprints in their preplan package (something very important for any SWAT/SRT response. Also find out if there is a video surveillance security system in the school and from where it can be monitored.

Incorporate the SRO in the planning process since he/she already knows the layout of the school. SRO also probably has a good handle on who are potential trouble makers and who are the student leaders/opinion shapers (official & unofficial) within student groups and cliques. Police should already have profiles on students who have had run-ins with the police, particularly in small to midsize towns. This should be included in contingency packages.

When you actually practice this (as opposed to the recon/planning phase), practice for worst case scenarios. Practice with the fire alarms ringing constantly. Simulate the sprinklers going off, if you can. Have a “secondary strike” in the scenario –ie, respond to a bomb, injuries, etc, and then a sniper fires at fleeing kids from the surrounding areas.

All of this is vital if we are going to save lives and deter these tragic crimes. The fire department has plans like this for fires in all major buildings, and now the time has come for us to do the same.

Stay safe!

Preparing for School Attacks

Source –(Richard Fairburn and David Grossman)

Part 1 of 3

Probably the last place you want to think of terrorists striking is your kids’ school. But according to two trainers at an anti-terrorism conference on the East Coast, preparations for attacks on American schools that will bring rivers of blood and staggering body counts are well underway in Islamic terrorist camps.

The intended attackers have bluntly warned us they’re going to do it.

They’re already begun testing school-related targets here.They’ve given us a catastrophic model to train against, which we’ve largely ignored and they’ve learned more deadly tactics from.

“We don’t know for sure what they will do. No one knows the future. But by definition, a successful attack is one we are not ready for,” declared one of the instructors, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Our schools fit that description to a “T”-as in Terrorism and Threat.

Grossman, the popular law enforcement motivational speaker, and Todd Rassa, a trainer with the SigArms Academy and an advisory board member for The Police Marksman magazine, shared a full day’s agenda on the danger to U.S. schools at a recent three-day conference on terrorist issues, sponsored by the International Assn. of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) in Atlantic City.

They reminded the audience that patrol officers, including perhaps some with their own children involved, will inevitably be the first responders when terrorists hit. And they documented chilling descriptions of the life-or-death challenges that likely will be faced.

In Part 1 of this three-part report on highlights of their presentations we focus on what’s

known about the threat to our schools to date, why terrorists have selected them as targets, and what tactics you’re likely to be up against in responding to a sudden strike.

In Parts 2 and 3, we’ll explore Grossman’s and Rassa’s recommendations for practical measures you and your agency can take now to get ready, including some defensive actions that don’t require any budget allocations.

Why schools? Two reasons:

1. Our values. “The most sacred thing to us is our children, our babies,” Rassa said. Killing hundreds of them at a time would significantly “boost Islamic morale and lower that of the enemy” (us). In Grossman’s words, terrorists see this effort as “an attempt to defile our nation” by leaving it “stunned to its soul.”

2. Our lack of preparation. Police agencies “aren’t used to this,” Rassa said. “We deal with acts of a criminal nature. This is an act of war,” but because of our laws “we can’t depend on the military to help us,” at least at the outset.

Indeed, Grossman claimed, “the U.S. in the one nation in the world where the military is not the first line of defense against domestic terrorist attacks. By law, you the police officer are our Delta Force. It is your job to go in, while in most other nations cops will wait for the military to come save their kids.”

School personnel, Rassa said, “are not even close” to being either mentally or physically prepared. “Most don’t even have response plans for handling a single active shooter. Their world is taught to nurture and care for people. They don’t want to deal with this.”

The American public, “sticking their heads in the sand, can’t be mentally prepared,” he said. “They’re going to freak when it happens,” their stubborn denial making the crisis “all the more shocking.”

Noting that “sheep have two speeds: ‘graze’ and ‘stampede,'” Grossman predicted that “not a parent in the nation will send their kids to school the next day”-perhaps for many days-after a large-scale terrorist massacre. If day-care centers-“also on the terrorists’ list”-are hit as well, “parents will drop out of the work force” en masse to protect their children and “our economy will be devastated.”

How we know they’re coming.

Al-Qaeda has publicly asserted the “right” to kill 2,000,000 American children, Rassa explained, and has warned that “operations are in stages of preparation” now. He played vivid videotapes confiscated in Afghanistan, showing al-Qaeda terrorists practicing the takeover of a school. The trainees issue commands in English, rehearse separating youngsters into manageable groups and meeting any resistance with violence. Some “hostages” are taken to the rooftop, dangled over the edge, then “shot.”

“Any place that has given [Islamic terrorists] trouble, they’ve come after the kids,” Grossman said. Muslim religious literature, according to Rassa, states clearly that the killing of children not only is “permitted” in Islam but is “approved” by Mohammed, so long as the perpetrators “are striving for the general good” as interpreted by that religion.

He cited instances in Indonesia where girls on their way to school have been beheaded and in other countries where children have been shot, mutilated, raped or burned alive.

In this country this year [’06], Rassa said, there have been several school bus-related incidents involving Middle Eastern males that raise suspicion of terrorist activity. These include the surprise boarding of a school bus in Florida by two men in trench coats, who may have been on a canvassing mission, and the attempt in New York State by an Arab male to obtain a job as a school bus driver using fraudulent Social Security documents. The latter gave an address in Detroit, home to a large colony of fundamentalist Muslims.

Rassa claimed that floor plans for half a dozen schools in Virginia, Texas and New Jersey have been recovered from terrorist hands in Iraq.

The terrorists’ tactical model.

A “dress rehearsal for what terrorists plan to do to us” has already taken place, Rassa and Grossman agreed. That was the brutal takedown in 2004 of a school that served children from 6 to 17 years old in Beslan, Russia.

Some 100 terrorists were involved, nearly half of whom were discreetly embedded in the large crowd of parents, staff and kids who showed up for the first day of school; the rest arrived for the surprise attack in SUVs, troop carriers and big sedans. Across a three-day siege, 700 people were wounded and 338 killed, including 172 youngsters.

If a similar assault were launched against a school in your jurisdiction, how would you and your agency respond? Consider this modest sampling of challenges that were deliberately planned or arose from the ensuing chaos at Beslan, as outlined by Rassa:

The school was chosen because it was one of the taller buildings in the area and had a very complicated floor plan, making a rapid and effective counter-assault by responders extremely difficult. Offender weaponry included AK-47s, sniper rifles, RPGs and explosives, with everything the terrorists needed carried in on their backs. RPGs were fired at a responding military helicopter and at troops.

More than 1,000 men, women and children, including babies, were penned in an unventilated gym and a cafeteria. As the days passed without food or water and inside temperatures rose to 115 degrees, survivors were eating flowers they’d brought for teachers and fighting for urine to drink out of their shoes in desperation. Women and some children were repeatedly and continuously raped.

* Adult males and larger male students were used as “forced labor” to help fortify the building, then shot to death. Bodies were thrown out of an upper-story window, down onto a courtyard. Attempts at negotiation by responders were used by the terrorists strictly as an opportunity to buy time to solidify their fortifications.

Surviving hostages were surrounded by armed guards standing on deadman switches, wired to explosives. All entrances to the building as well as stairwells and some interior doorways were booby-trapped. Youngsters were forced to sit on window sills to serve as shields for snipers. “Black widows” (potential suicide bombers) were rigged so their bomb belts could be detonated by remote control when leaders considered the timing was right. The terrorists stayed cranked up on some type of amphetamine to keep awake.

Armed, outraged parents and other civilians, some of them drunk, showed up and started “rolling gunfights” outside in a futile effort to defeat the takeover. The crowd identified one embedded terrorist and “literally ripped him apart.” The media was everywhere, unrestrained. So many people were milling around that responders often could not establish a clear field of fire.
When troops finally stormed the school in a counter-assault on the third day, “pure pandemonium” reigned. Soldiers and the kids they were trying to rescue were gunned down mercilessly. Explosions touched off inside started multiple fires.

Responders who made it inside had to jump over trip wires as they “ran” up stairs under fire from above. By then terrorists were holding hostages in virtually every room. Rescue teams were subjected to continual ambushes. Gunfights occurred predominately within a 6-ft. range, with some responders having to fight for their lives in places so cramped they couldn’t get off their hands and knees.

Some children successfully rescued from the building were so crazed by thirst that they ran to an outdoor spigot and were killed by a grenade as they filled their hands with water.

Terrorists who escaped during the melee ran to homes of embedded sympathizers who hid them successfully and were not immediately suspected because they were considered “non-strangers” in the community. Some townspeople who volunteered to help as stretcher bearers for the injured were, in fact, embedded terrorists.

During the siege “at least four people or agencies claimed to be in charge. Actually, no one was in charge and no one wanted to be.”

“Osama bin Laden has promised that what has happened in Russia will happen to us many times over,” Grossman warned. “And Osama tries very hard never to lie to us.”

What’s likely here.

Probably not so many terrorists involved at a single location. Moving that big a contingent into place would likely attract too much attention and thwart the attack. Grossman describes a more likely possibility, in his opinion:

Terrorist cells of four operatives each might strike simultaneously at four different schools. They may pick elementary schools, or middle schools with no police officers on site, where the girls are “old enough to rape” but students are not big enough to fight back effectively.

The targets may be in states “with no concealed-carry laws and no hunting culture” and in communities where “police do not have rifles.” Rural areas could be favored, where 30 minutes or more might be required for responders to arrive in force.

The attackers will probably “mow down every kid and teacher they see” as they move in to seize the school. They may plant bombs throughout the buildings, and “rape, murder and throw out bodies like they did in Russia.” Emergency vehicles responding and children fleeing will be blown up by car bombs in the parking lot.

In all, 100 to 300 children could be slaughtered in a first strike.

Terrorists capable of this are already embedded in communities “all over America,” Grossman and Rassa agreed. More will probably gain entry surreptitiously from Mexico, making southern California potentially a prime target.

No time for despair.

It’s a grim picture, for certain. “But if we think there’s nothing we can do to prepare, that is a defeatist mentality,” Rassa said. “We ought to be trying. If we’re not trying, we’re failing. We may as well give up our guns and surrender now.

“I can’t think of a better thing to train up for than protecting our kids. If we try but fall short, look at how much else we’ll still be able to handle than we can now.

“What made most of us do active-shooter training? The killings at Columbine. Are we going to wait for something far worse than that before we do the most that we can to stop the terrorists who are coming for our schools?”
Part 2 of 3

“4 Ds” For Thwarting Terrorists’ Plans To Massacre Our School Children
[Editor’s Note: In Part 1, we documented the plans of Islamic terrorists to strike U.S. schools in murderous raids, claiming the lives of hundreds of children, as reported at a recent anti-terrorism conference, sponsored by the International Assn. of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI). In Part 2, we summarize countermeasures proposed by one of the conference instructors, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of the popular books On Killing and On Combat.]

As Instructor Todd Rassa pointed out in our first installment, if we are not trying to prepare for and thwart the daunting terrorist threat to our schools and children, we are, in effect, conceding defeat and surrendering without a battle to those who would obliterate us.

There is no simple master plan for an easy victory. But the cumulative effect of many seemingly small countermeasures, effectively applied on a large scale by individual officers and their agencies, can have a powerful impact.

Here are some of the practicalities that Trainer Dave Grossman suggested we consider in beginning to address the critical problem of terrorists coming for our kids.

First mission.

That’s overcoming denial. And where schools and terrorist attacks are concerned, denial abounds.

U.S. schools continue to take extensive and overt measures to guard students against the threat of fire, with drills, alarms, sprinkler systems, building codes, etc.-even though there has not been a single child killed by fire in any American school in the last 25 years, Grossman declared.

In contrast, well over 200 deaths have occurred from school violence by active shooters and other non-terrorist offenders over the last dozen years, and Islamic fundamentalists are believed to be plotting attacks that will claim hundreds of child casualties in a single blow. Yet efforts to significantly harden schools as a target of violence have, for the most part, been slow, timid or nonexistent.

“We need to treat the threat of violence like the threat of fire. But if you try to prepare for violence, people think you’re crazy, paranoid,” Grossman said.

“Denial is the enemy. It’s a big, fluffy white blanket we pull up over our eyes to convince ourselves the bad men are never going to come. And while we pull that blanket up, bad guys come and kick us in the crotch.

“Let’s face the lessons terrorists have already taught us in blood and lives. They are coming, and they may well come for our schools, our kids. We’ve had all the warning in the world. And if we continue living in denial, then all the lives they’ve claimed to date have been sacrificed for nothing.”

Grossman’s 4 Ds.

Besides working to eliminate the big D (denial), Grossman cited four others we need to focus on:

1. Deter

An armed police presence in a school can provide strong deterrence against attack, Grossman argued. “Terrorists are willing to die, but they desperately don’t want to die for nothing, without completing their tactical objective. They want a body count.”

squad-level strength, and armed guards accompany all class fieldtrips, usually one per 10 students. But even with a single armed officer in a school, “the prospects of a massacre go way down,” Grossman said.

Having unarmed security in or around schools is both pointless and ethically derelict, in his opinion. “Don’t give someone responsibility for human lives and not give them the tools to do the job. You wouldn’t give a firefighter just a hat, uniform and badge, and no hose or water.”

Should teachers be armed? At least two states (Utah and New Hampshire) now authorize concealed-carry permits in schools, according to Grossman, and the Federal Safe Schools Act allows for it. Faculty with military experience and a willingness to receive additional training could be a starting point.

“Even one or two armed teachers in a school can make a difference,” Grossman said. But given the current American mind-set, “you have to push this envelope very gently.”

2. Detect

“The ultimate achievement is a terrorist takeover that doesn’t start,” Grossman said. And officers being suspicious-“doing what cops do”-are well positioned to interrupt attack plans before they culminate.

Follow good criminal patrol procedures on traffic stops, for instance, by asking probing questions and being alert for contradictions, inconsistencies, irrationalities, unduly nervous behavior and other indicators of deceit and guilty behavior. Be aware of what you can see inside vehicles or on subjects that may merit closer investigation.

Watch for signs of static or mobile surveillance of potential targets. Terrorists “always conduct a recon,” which may involve photographing or videotaping a prospective site, Grossman said. Don’t limit your suspicions just to persons who fit the stereotypical terrorist profile. “There are terrorists who are blond and blue eyed.”

Inform schools to report any calls from people inquiring about security. Someone claiming to be a concerned parent wanting to know if any armed officers are on the premises may in fact be an operative gauging the vulnerability of the location. The staffer taking the call should jot down the caller ID number and note the precise time and the phone line the call came in on to facilitate follow up checking by police. “Any time terrorists bounce off a hard target is a chance to catch them.”

3. Delay

If terrorists do strike, “one man or woman with effective fire from behind cover inside the school can hold off a group of attackers for 5 minutes,” saving lives by buying time until police responders “can get in the door,” Grossman claimed.

Meantime, at the first hint of trouble, teachers and children should kick in to a preplanned and frequently rehearsed three-step “lock-down model,” he recommended. “Sheltering” children in place, as has been attempted in various school shootings, is more likely to be dangerous than protective. Instead, Grossman advises potential victims to:

Move away from violence, which otherwise tends to be “mesmerizing and paralyzing”

Move to a pre-selected secure location, someplace “secure enough to keep the bad guys out until the cops come in”

Move again if you have reason to feel threatened at that spot. “Lock-down does not mean hunker down and die,” Grossman said.

“As a last resort,” there may be times when a teacher would need the courage to “go toward an attacker.” Grossman cited a case in which an active shooter broke a window in a classroom door and reached through to release the locked knob. Teacher and students cowered inside and just waited, whereas a teacher might have “grabbed a chair and attacked his hand” and possibly have delayed or deterred a fatal assault.

Plans on paper “mean nothing,” Grossman reminded. “You have to get the schools to rehearse” anti-terrorist scenarios. “Principals have been fired for not doing fire drills,” and yet the terrorist threat these days is so much greater. Where are our priorities?

4. Destroy

As a responding officer, you have to be fully prepared, mentally and physically, to use deadly force to stop the threat. “It is your job to put a chunk of steel in your fist and kill the sons-of-bitches who are coming to kill your kids,” Grossman declared in an emotional crescendo in his presentation.

“Fight from the very beginning. Don’t wait, thinking you’ll fight later.” Referring to the terrorist massacre at the school in Beslan, Russia, which we described in Part 1 of this series, Grossman said: “Every minute the Russians waited, the target got harder.” If you hesitate in responding, “you’ll die with a bullet in the back of your head in front of children.”
Part 3 of 3

How To Prepare Yourself For Terrorist Attacks On Our Schools

[Editor’s note: In previous installments, we documented the plans of Islamic terrorists to murder hundreds of U.S. school children, as reported at a recent anti-terrorism conference sponsored by the International Assn. of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI), and we summarized counter measures proposed by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.

In this final report, we explore recommendations of another conference speaker, Todd Rassa, a trainer with the SigArms Academy and a member of the advisory board for The Police Marksman magazine. We conclude with Grossman’s suggestions of what LE agencies can do to defend our schools despite current budget restraints.]

Trainer Todd Rassa considers active-shooter training, which is now being embraced by more and more departments, as “a good start,” but he warned that much more is needed to adequately protect our children from terrorist attacks on schools.

Here are some of the items he enumerated for a conscientious “to do” list:

Rassa’s recommendations.

1. Train every patrol officer in bomb awareness, crowd management, riot control, ballistic shield tactics, team firing drills and other response skills likely to be needed for a mass school takedown. Responsibility for an immediate effective response will most probably fall heavily on street cops, given the activation time for most SWAT teams.

2. Proper equipment needs to be readied. “Patrol rifles are needed now-as many as possible with as much ammunition as possible,” Rassa stressed. Also ballistic shields, helmets and other protective devices for every officer. Have a plan in place to get large amounts of additional ammo to the scene ASAP.

Soft body armor may prove inadequate, but extras should be available anyway in a better-than-nothing effort to protect fleeing hostages by draping vests and ballistic blankets over them. Armored transport vehicles may prove crucial. Less-lethal rounds may be useful for crowd control, but will be futile to attempt against terrorists.

3. Work with school officials to anticipate problems and realistically rewrite their emergency plans. “They are not going to fix themselves,” Rassa predicted. Cross-train with school personnel and consider involving community leaders with training on crowd-control tactics and intel collection. Manpower and tactics will be needed to handle “outraged, violent parents” if a siege develops.

SROs, who likely will be targeted by terrorists as first casualties, need training on “surveillance awareness, including real-life testing of school security” by would-be invaders.

4. Expand your active-shooter training to include “large, complicated, multi-adversary scenarios and exercises,” Rassa urged. Practice against a booby-trapped environment, simultaneous attacks from multiple levels, ambushes from the rear. Rehearse tactics for CQB with both pistol and rifle.

Also practice counter-assaults on school buses. “What if terrorists hijacked a couple of buses and drove them into a school? What if they hijacked several and spread them out across your town?”

5. Incorporate suicide-bomber shooting drills into your firearms training for every officer. That should include “practicing head shots from a distance with a pistol after running.” Build the ability to shoot while moving into your qualifications. Also integrate self-defense DT into firearms training-“blending two important worlds that usually never meet.” Even consider training with AK-47s and other “exotic” weapons that may be in your property room, on the chance you may have to use the weapons of neutralized terrorists if yours run empty.

6. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with your schools. Videotape them inside and out and collect and review floor plans, making sure they are kept up to date as remodeling projects take place. Work with schools to get classroom numbers put on street signs and mounted on the exterior. Also check to see if computers in your squad cars can be made compatible with CCTV cameras inside the building, so you can tie in to what’s going inside in event of trouble.

7. As a parent, you may want to falsify your occupation (as a police office) on school records so your child will not be easily identified as a desirable hostage.

8. And, of course, stage frequent incident-command training and exercises, so multiple jurisdictions and multiple disciplines (fire, police, EMS, city services, etc.) learn the importance of putting political egos and turf wars aside in the interest of saving children’s lives.

Agency actions that don’t take $$$

Dave Grossman, the well-known author of On Killing and On Combat, concluded IALEFI’s excellent conference with suggestions of how LE agencies can improve their protection of schools without further straining already tight budgets.

1. Encourage officers always to carry off-duty. Always.

2. No one can predict where a given officer might be when terrorists strike. What if you were off-duty on a visit to your child’s school; would you have the primary life-saving tool of your profession with you? Remember, Grossman said, “One person behind cover with effective fire can hold down a whole company of invaders for 5 minutes” while help arrives.

3. ” If we stop them dead in one school and kill them before they kill kids, that will convince the country that we can fight back. If they fail in one school, that will undermine their plan.

4. ” If you walk out off-duty without your gun, every time you pass a fire exit or see a fire extinguisher, say to yourself, ‘Firefighters have made more preparations than I have.’ Plant the seed with other officers. Once you tell them, they can’t not think about it.”

5. Exploit opportunities to expand your equipment inventory.

Many cash-strapped agencies now encourage officers to buy and carry their own rifles on duty. If certain standards and training are maintained, that’s a quick way to strengthen your counter-force.

Officers should also be encouraged to prepare and ride with “go bags” that can be slung over their shoulder as they head into a crisis. Loaded with backup boxes of pistol and rifle ammo, these can be comforting safeguards against running dry in a firefight, where “three magazines can easily be burned up in less than a minute.”

Get the name and phone number of every private owner of a helicopter in your area and coordinate with them ahead of time a plan for pressing their chopper into service in an emergency. Even news agencies might be willing to cooperate if promised “great footage” in exchange for transporting officers to a siege site. As medivac helicopters go in, they should come in full of armed police, and go out full of wounded.

” There will be gridlock chaos on the ground within moments wherever an attack comes,” Grossman said. “Helicopters can be great for getting firepower in and wounded out.” Practice hovering over schools and landing personnel on the flat roofs that most have.

Envision fire hoses as “crew-served weapons.” At a terrorist scene, hoses can be used not only “to put out fires that may be caused by booby traps” but can also “knock a combatant out of a window 50 yards away-an incredibly effective weapon.”

A firefighter directing the hose can be protected behind two officers holding ballistic shields and two officers behind the shields with rifles, Grossman suggested. Obviously, this tactic requires practice well before it’s needed.

3. Build the right mind-set in your troops.

As a police officer, “you have to have your heart and mind ready,” Grossman said. “In our nation, the military is not coming to save your kids. You are the Delta Force. It’s your job to go in like thunder when they come to kill your kids and destroy your way of life.

” Get training-all you can. Advance steadily along the warrior path. Live life in Condition Yellow, vigilant readiness. Cultivate hobbies that reinforce your survival skills.”

He conjured a bumper sticker that says, Piss on golf. Real Americans go to the range. “We don’t have time for childish pursuits,” he declared.

” Most people in our society are sheep. Wolves will feed on them without hesitation. Anyone who thinks there are no wolves is in denial.

” You are the sheepdog, the protector. When bad stuff comes, the sheepdog is prepared, even eager. If you are not ready, who is?”

Be Proactive: The Awareness / Prevention Checklist

Source – Bill Dolphin

The Awareness/Prevention checklist highlights areas of school operations, maintenance, security, and personnel that may pose opportunities for risk reduction. Use this checklist as a proactive tool to generate awareness over the potential for terrorist acts, at a time when it is needed most.

The recommendations contained in this checklist are not intended to represent or to replace a comprehensive school security program. Such a program would include much more. Many of the procedures included in the checklist are routine in districts with full-time security operations. Whether your school district has full-time security coverage, or has minimal security resources, these recommendations may be used as a focal point around which to build an appropriately renewed sense of awareness. The recommendations have been constructed in several “modules” each of which depicts the basic recommendation, the audit point or “question” to be addressed for each recommendation and the departments that would potentially be involved in the addressing the recommendation.

Module 1: Review Employment Screening Policy & Procedure

•Does your screening process include volunteers, cafeteria workers, mechanics, bus drivers, and security, in addition to educational staff?

•Does your procedure allow for actual courthouse searches, rather than database searches, which are typically not accurate?

•Do your searchers do Social Security Number traces to identify any out-of-state venues that should be checked?

•Do your outside contractors use due-diligence screening procedures to check the backgrounds of their workers who regularly visit your school?

Departments Involved:


•Human Resources

Module 2: Review the physical security of bus yards and garages; review transportation security in general.

Steps: – Are vehicle garages alarmed, and are the alarms in working order? – Are fenced-in areas gated, locked, and adequately illuminated at night? – Do drivers do “pilot inspections” of their vehicles before placing them into service each day? Is this done again after each time the vehicle has been left unattended? – Are bus drivers equipped with two-way radios or cell phones? – Are drivers trained to be aware of and to report suspicious vehicles that appear to be following their buses during their routes? – Do drivers keep a student roster for each bus route, to include student name, address, primary and secondary emergency contact numbers, and medical authorization information?

Remember, terrorists place their intended targets under surveillance prior to attack. They will study various potential targets as part of the target selection process in order to identify those with fatal weaknesses. While vigilance alone will not prevent a terrorist attack on a U.S. school, it may prevent your school from being selected for attack. Terrorists will likely select the softest amongst all of the targets considered. These may be rural schools serviced primarily by county sheriff departments or state police agencies. In other words, in places where the closest swat team or other first responders may not be just around the corner.

If you haven’t considered the possibility of a terrorist attack on a school in your district, or if your plans up to now have been solely reactive in nature, now is the time to act. Awareness is inexpensive and one of the most effective tools we have in the war on terror. However, we have to overcome the “it won’t happen here” thinking that paralyzes many Americans with an apparent reluctance to think or act. Moreover, don’t expect that the Fed, or for that matter your state will step in with a reasonable and proactive program to render your school or district a less soft target. All such efforts must come from within and must come now!

Departments Involved:


Contract or proprietary bus operators

Health Services

Module 3: a) Review the adequacy of physical security in and around campus buildings; b) Review placement of security cameras and review monitoring practices


Review the adequacy of physical security in and around campus buildings

Review placement of security cameras and review monitoring practices

Are alarm systems working and have they been tested? This should include main campus buildings as well as maintenance and storage facilities.

Are keys to campus and administration buildings adequately controlled?

Are alarm pass codes changed when an employee leaves the school district?

Make sure pass codes are not shared.

Is exterior lighting working and is illumination adequate?

Is interior lighting (night lighting) working and is illumination adequate?

If security cameras are used, coverage should include main doors and building exteriors, as well as interior locations.

Make sure recording equipment is in working order and that a reasonable archive is maintained.

If cameras are not live monitored, make sure that a periodic or spot review of critical areas takes place.

Encourage students and staff to report suspicious activity quickly, so that video archives can be reviewed for evidence.

Departments Involved:





Module 4: Review access control procedures and heighten employee awareness

Are doors that should remain locked from the outside during the day kept locked, and are these doors checked periodically to make sure they are secure? Train all employees to check these doors but consider assigning someone to check them as well.

Are staff members trained to approach and to “assist” strangers of any age who are observed in and on school property? Report those who have difficulty explaining their presence.

Are students trained to report suspicious persons or persons who may not be authorized on campus?

Has a visitor log and ID badge system been implemented?
Departments Involved:


Module 5: Train everyone to recognize and report suspicious activities on campus.


Are persons taking pictures or filming campus activities questioned about their authorization to do so?

Be alert for suspicious vehicles that seem to have no apparent purpose for being on campus, or, that come, go, and then reappear again.

Are specific individuals assigned to inspect the outside of campus buildings throughout the day, and to report unattended packages or vehicles near building perimeters?

Have you developed a plan to handle reports of suspicious activity?

Is everyone trained to report unattended or otherwise suspicious packages found inside campus buildings? Is this specific issue placed on routine checklists for maintenance and janitorial personnel?

Do personnel know what to do if a suspicious package is found?

Have you considered a policy that requires staff and students to visibly identify backpacks, book bags, briefcases and gym bags with luggage style ID tags?

Departments Involved:

Everyone including students, janitorial, teachers, volunteers, & Student Resource Officers

Module 6: Implement a “tip-line” program that allows students, teachers, parents, staff, and other members of the school community to report issues anonymously, if they choose.


Do you have a zero tolerance for verbal threats of any kind?

Do all members of the school community know that any threat, or information about a potential threat, must be reported? And, do they understand that there is no such thing as a threat intended as a joke?

Do students and staff know that they are responsible for informing the building principal about any information or knowledge of a possible or actual terrorist threat or act?

Have you communicated a hard stand on hoaxes intended to mimic terrorist acts?

Do students know that these hoaxes are crimes in themselves?
Departments Involved:

Student Services



Resource Officers

Module 7: Work closely with local law enforcement, health officials, and first responders


Have you made local law enforcement a partner in your district’s plans?

Are parking regulations, particularly fire zone regulations, strictly enforced?

Does local law enforcement have copies of building blueprints, to include ventilation system, and electrical plans?

Has local law enforcement been given the opportunity to conduct exercises on school property and on busses?

Have you determined contact protocol with local health officials if bio-terrorism is suspected?

Departments Involved:


Clinical Staff

Crisis Management Team

Local Law Enforcement

First Responders


Local Health Officials

Module 8: Train staff on identifying and handling suspicious packages and letters.


Have you download and posted the FBI advisory (poster) regarding suspicious packages from

Or, the US Postal Inspection Service poster on identifying suspicious packages from

Have you considered publicizing the availability of this information to others in the school community for personal use?

Have you ordered ATF forms: P 3320.5; P 7550.2; and 1613.1, regarding bomb threat planning?

Departments Involved:

Mail Room






Remember, terrorists place their intended targets under surveillance prior to attack. They will study various potential targets as part of the target selection process in order to identify those with fatal weaknesses. While vigilance alone will not prevent a terrorist attack on a U.S. school, it may prevent your school from being selected for attack. Terrorists will likely select the softest amongst all of the targets considered. These may be rural schools serviced primarily by county sheriff departments or state police agencies. In other words, in places where the closest swat team or other first responders may not be just around the corner.

If you haven’t considered the possibility of a terrorist attack on a school in your district, or if your plans up to now have been solely reactive in nature, now is the time to act. Awareness is inexpensive and one of the most effective tools we have in the war on terror. However, we have to overcome the “it won’t happen here” thinking that paralyzes many Americans with an apparent reluctance to think or act. Moreover, don’t expect that the Fed, or for that matter your state will step in with a reasonable and proactive program to render your school or district a less soft target. All such efforts must come from within and must come now.


September 26, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror


  1. Wow, excellent info and sad to be necessary! I’m wondering about bringing this up in Bd of Ed meeting cuz of strict ban on cell phones/pagers…Any advice?

    Comment by Odale | September 27, 2007 | Reply

  2. I found it easier to just home school my kids. We don’t make as much income as other families, but it is worth it.
    I am more concerned about the anti-Christian sentiment in the schools and increasingly in the general public.
    I truly believe that ban on cellphones and pagers in the schools is more about control than eliminating a distraction. The schools don’t want the kids to feel like they can rely on the parent – they want complete control to make your child feel dependent on them. It is just one way they undermine a child’s connection to the parent.

    Comment by webmonkey | September 27, 2007 | Reply

  3. I used to work at the local middle school..Dear, Lord! I am glad that you made that decision (home school), for as much as people argue that “they will have to socialize sooner or later”. I have implored my brother to home school my nephew and say it as often as possible around others. I don’t think “society” really realizes what goes on, Christians included, sadly. It is to the point of having sexual encounters in the classroom, on the bus, etc., and what comes out of the mouth! One 14 yr old boy told me it was okay to smoke pot cuz he did it w/ dad…

    I love your site, btw. Have been here a few times! Only began blogging Sept 3rd. Any advice is welcome and appreciated! Did not start out to witness, not that I was not going to address it, but have been led that direction more strongly than I anticipated, it seems! ;-))
    God Bless You and Yours.

    Comment by Odale | September 28, 2007 | Reply

  4. […] (Christian Ponte, Matthew Dominick, Rebecca Mueller) wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt […]

    Pingback by Video Games » The Terrorist Threat To Our Schools Pt. 2 by the NTARC | September 30, 2007 | Reply

  5. Im sorry Odale I had planned to gather as much info as possible for you to present to the board. I have been really busy the last few days but will try to find the time.
    Addressing that issue with the school board will not be an easy task, although with the support of other concerned parents there may be some type of proposal that could gain results. God knows every school should have some type of plan for any type of threat to our children. I think there should be precautionary measures in place at every school that guarantees the safety of our children to the best of our ability at all times.(Funding should be provided by our government) I could go on for hours on all the different measures our government could take, but its really late so I better hit the hay. I will get back to you Odale. has alot of things I think you would find interesting, check it out if you havn’t already.

    God Bless and Take Care

    Comment by Derrick | September 30, 2007 | Reply

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