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Should Kids Hide or Defend Themselves against School Shooters?

The Short of It

As mass shootings become increasingly common, is it worth thinking about how your child could defend him or herself if, God forbid, there was an active shooter situation at school?

The Lowdown

The FBI recommends kids run or hide if an active shooter enters their school. That's what my kids practice in their lockdown drills in their classrooms. That they need to do these drills at all makes me sick to my stomach, but it's a sad reality that today's students need to be prepared for the worst.

In a Tuesday segment on "Fox & Friends," martial arts trainer Tony Morrison explained to Elizabeth Hasselbeck why children should learn to defend themselves against shooters, instead of hiding.

The first step is what Morrison calls "situational awareness." He says, "Well, we can't make our kids ignorant about the fact that the world is a dangerous place right now.... We start by telling them what kinds of things to look for, to be more vigilant, to start paying attention to their surroundings, and we call it 'situational awareness.'"

Morrison takes it a step further than vigilance, though, by advocating that kids should learn how to disarm a shooter. He teaches these martial arts-based disarming techniques and demonstrated them in the Fox segment.

I'll stop here and say my girls take karate, and one of the reasons I signed them up was to learn self-defense, although that was far from the only reason. I love what karate teaches my kids: discipline, confidence, and fitness. That being said, do I want them trying to disarm a person with a gun? Probably not. Obviously, they could get badly hurt.

But, do I want my kids to hide and just hope a gunman doesn't see them? No, that doesn't sound ideal either. I'm torn.

The Upshot

While some parents who see the Fox segment will be horrified by the suggestion kids should learn how to defend themselves against a gunman, or worse, multiple gunmen, don't count me among their ranks. I like that we are talking about how we can protect, and even empower, our children in this scary new world, and no idea is a bad one. The absolute worst thing we can do is push this issue to the backs of our minds and fail to prepare.

Where do you stand?

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