PENDLETON, Oregon – The East Coast is learning from the West Coast as far as school safety plans go. Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts says that schools in the east are realizing that the method employed by districts like the InterMountain Education Service District have a better plan and are changing from simply instructing people to run from an attacker.
“Where are you going to run to,” Roberts asked. “If you have a single door and all those doors face a hallway, and everybody dumps into the hallway, as an active shooter, that’s the best-case scenario for me.”
Roberts worked with school administrators and first responders to create a safety plan that trains students and staff in three options: run, hide or fight.
“If you have an opportunity to run and get away from the threat then yes, if that’s what’s reasonable and prudent,” he said. “But if you don’t have that opportunity, you’ve also got to be able to know, ‘How do I keep myself as safe as I can possibly be?’”
Roberts says people can lock themselves in their classrooms and hide away from the door into the classroom. They can also find a protective place like a closet, or behind a desk.
The third possibility is fighting, and Roberts says sometimes that’s the only option open to those being threatened by an active shooter. As examples, he cited the shootings at Umpqua Community College and Virginia Tech where shooters barricaded themselves inside classrooms blocking off the exits.
The Department of Homeland Security recommends schooling people in the run, hide or fight system, as does the FBI.