BLOG: Three years after Sandy Hook - | WBTV Charlotte

BLOG: Three years after Sandy Hook

Three years ago this week a tragedy fell upon America that was felt by all, the senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 

That day, 20 innocent children and six adult staff members lost their lives to an active shooter who had just killed his mother before driving to the school to create a massacre beyond anything we had seen to date here in the United States. This incident was the deadliest mass-shooting at a grade school in U.S. history and the second-deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.

When incidents like this happen, we grieve. We grieve as individuals and as a nation.  But after every active shooter incident we've experienced here in the U.S., the resilience of the human spirit has brought us back wiser and stronger than we were before. So have things become safer at our schools in the past three years?  The resounding answer is yes.

School safety has been approached on multiple levels.  Awareness level training has been provided to students and teachers, providing them options at the scene.  Run, hide, fight is one of the most popular programs in use today. Multiple videos on this educational program are available online. Continuous training has been provided to law enforcement officers through programs such as ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training).  This is training that provides the police officer knowledge and on-site learning which prepares them to respond quicker, safer and better equipped to handle a school situation. 

Educational programs have also been set up in the field of mental health.  Programs not only designed to bring mental health education to teachers and administrators, but also to police officers, assisting them in identifying individuals who may pose potential threats.  Mental health training has also been focused on providing post-incident support services as well.

Advancements in technology have played a major role in making our schools safer as well.  Everything from upgraded locks and improved doors at our schools, to attendance data bases and alarm systems.  Integrated security systems are continuing to be developed and improved on a regular basis.

But in the end, nothing is more effective at keeping kids safe, than their parents' involvement in their lives. I have always believed that safety awareness and education begins at home. If parents take their family safety and security seriously, then you see kids watching and learning from that and taking the awareness attitude to school with them.  Education defeats fear and no one needs to be paranoid about the dangers existing in today's society. 

It would be naive to think that we will not see more incidents or attempted incidents at our schools. So we all must continue to do everything we can to protect those who we hold most precious; our children. 

If you have questions regarding your kids' school safety, contact the school resource officer or the school administration.  You should never hesitate to ask about your kids school safety and security policies and procedures.  Knowledge is power. 

Stay safe. Don't be afraid, be aware.  

Copyright 2015 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Karl de la Guerra, PPS, CLSS

Don't let the bad guys win. Karl de la Guerra is WBTV's expert on personal security. He has spent the past 36 years in the protective services industry, with experience in the U.S. military, law enforcement, and international corporate security. For more information, visit
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