Active Shooter — What to teach your kids after the shooting at North Park Elementary

Initially responding to a call of an active shooter, police responded North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino. A suspected murder-suicide has been reported, with two adults reported dead and two children reported injured. The suspect, a male adult and a female adult are reported dead as of 4/10/17. It is believed that the situation was the result of a domestic dispute that spilled over into the workplace, which, sadly, was a school.

The chaos reported on local news surrounding this event is the result of an active shooter. It is important to have a conversation with your children — starting as early as elementary school — about protecting themselves in a run, hide, fight active shooter situation.

All schools have protocol in place to go into lockdown when active shooters are involved. Many of these protocols involve announcing the incident over the PA system. From there, teachers have been instructed to lock doors and windows, shut blinds, cover any windows in doors with dark paper, turn off lights, and work to keep students calm. Students are often taught the rationale behind this as they get older, but may leave elementary-aged students in the dark about active shooter situations.

When talking to your child, it is important to explain what an active shooter situation is and why it happens. A good definition is from the Department of Homeland Security: an active shooter is “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s), and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.” Responding to such a situation for children can be traumatic, but talking to them openly about what to do can help them react effectively under the stress of an active shooter situation.

Of the run, hide, fight reaction chain, your child should primarily be focused on hiding and running. As discussed above, schools have a process to lockdown the campus when someone unauthorized is found on campus, including active shooters. Your child should be able to remain in a locked classroom, effectively hiding them. If your child is caught outside of a classroom, they need to remain in a hidden location. Bathrooms and offices are strong places to continue hiding — they should lock the doors and turn off lights as possible. If the student is in a hallway and hear the lockdown alert, the child should run to the nearest classroom, office or bathroom.

If your child encounters the active shooter, they need to run away until they can find a place to safely hide and barricade themselves. Fighting should be their absolute last resort. If they need to fight, they should fashion a weapon out of anything they can lift or throw. Heavy objects from the surroundings that can be thrown at or bashed into the perpetrator are ideal weapons. They need to work together to the extent possible.

Remember, getting to relative safety is the primary goal in an active shooter situation.

Additionally, parents should encourage their children’s schools to provide active shooter training for all staff. Such a training enhances one’s likeliness to remember the key element of enduring such a situation: run, hide, fight.

AEGIS Security & Investigations offers a real-life active shooter training course in which students learn to ensure their personal safety and help those around them stay clear of danger. These courses are available both live and online. The greatest benefits to a course like this are its ability to put trainees into the proper reactionary mindset, its unique approach as a drill to create physical memory of what to do, and its insistence on the need for run, hide, fight.

AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people tracing, and background investigation. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit

Author: Chelsea Turner & Jeff Zisner