In the event of a school emergency or an active shooter incident, the first responders are teachers. A common misconception is that police and medical personnel are the first responders, but technically they are second.

When a crisis happens at a school, teachers and other school employees are the first responders since they are the ones in the classrooms and in the hallways when the emergency takes place. Educating and training teachers and school staff in emergency response situations is the first line of defense in the event of a school emergency.

This training is pro-active and ongoing. All teachers need the emergency response tools so they are prepared for any number of situations that might arise with a student, family, or stranger on campus. Elements of this training must include the following key areas:

  • Teachers must know their students and the student’s family dynamics:
    • Are mom and dad married? Or split?
    • Do both parents work? If so, where?
    • Is it a blended family? Are there other family members in the home?
    • Are the grandparents raising the student
  • Red flags of students in crisis:
    • Dress appearance
    • Grades trending down
    • Class participation and engagement decline
    • Evidence of desperation
    • Personal setbacks like death of a friend or family, test failure, boyfriend/girlfriend issues, parents’ divorcing
  • Evidence of hopelessness or planning an attack:
    • Writings
    • Drawings

Bobby Brasher, Senior Consultant