What Happened: A 17 year old high school student used a handgun to murder two classmates at Great Mills High School. Within one minute, the School Resource Officer engaged the shooter and killed him.
According to the New York Times:
“It sounded like a shelf, like something fell,” said Shawnye Willis, 17, who was standing in the hallway, near an art class.
But then he saw a girl fall forward, and collapse on the ground. When she dropped, he said, he knew it was serious. Teachers yelled for students to get into classrooms, and people began to cry.
The principal, Jake Heibel, announced on the loudspeaker that the school was going into lockdown.
Saar Shah, 15, was working on a robotics assignment when he saw the flashing lights of police cars pull up to the school.”
How Mayday Safety could have helped:
1. Immediate notification. Instead of relying upon teachers shouting instructions over the noise and chaos, an immediate alert could have notified everyone of the issue.
Thankfully, the shooter did not continue shooting other students. Many more could have been hurt within the one minute it took for the School Resource Officer to engage the shooter. This was an incredibly fast reaction for which the officer should be praised – according to DHS, the average police response time is 18 minutes.
The loudspeaker announcement from the principal was a good response, however, it surely took longer than an immediate Mayday Alert would have.
At least one student was unaware of the issue and was notified of a problem upon seeing police cars arrive.
2. Clear Instructions. Instead of relying on shouting teachers and a PA system, everyone could have been alerted to exactly what was going on and how to react.
3. Safety Checks/Status. Each teacher could have “checked-in safe” so that school leadership and first responders knew who, if anyone, needed assistance.
4. Nearby Lockdown/Notification. Schools and businesses nearby could have been notified to lock-down in case there were other shooters. Those nearby could have been notified to keep the roads clear for first responders.
5. Parent notification. Parents could have been updated with information about how and where to connect with their children.