Northwest Horizons

Northwest students learn about active shooter safety

A graphic is shown depicting the three steps in responding to an active shooter. Run, hide, fight is a technique being taught to students at Northwest Guilford High School.

School Resource Officer Matthew Parsons

A graphic is shown depicting the three steps in responding to an active shooter. Run, hide, fight is a technique being taught to students at Northwest Guilford High School.

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Here’s a scenario: students are in the middle of class when the intercom crackles and the principal’s voice is heard. “Initiate a lockdown. This is not a drill. All students please report immediately to the nearest classroom or office.” Or maybe there is no direct warning, like in Parkland, Florida.

Due to recent events, students seem to be at more of a risk now than they ever have been before. Live news coverage and instant information through phone notifications allow everyone to know what is going on all over the country. Sensationalism around these tragic events spurs greater fear within the public, demanding more protection in schools.

School Resource Officer Matthew Parsons, who has been working in this field for sixteen years, hopes to educate students, rather than just teachers, on how to take action in the event of an active shooter on Northwest campus. He has been talking to English classes about both school and personal safety.

“A lot of people don’t realize how safe schools are in the first place,” Parsons said. “There are two officers who can respond in less than a minute.”

The two School Resource Officers on campus are always present in case of an emergency. However, in the event of an intruder, everyone should know how to protect themselves. The first step is preparation.

“What’s important is what you do in that first minute,” Parsons said. “Whether you’re at home, at the grocery store, [or] in the cafeteria having lunch.”

Parsons has been teaching students about what to do in the event of a perceived threat, which can be applied in any location. The danger is not limited to schools.

“First, try to get out of the area,” Parsons said. “Nobody can hurt you if you’re not there anymore.”

If there is ever any danger, one’s first option is to immediately flee the area. Personal safety is a top priority.

“If you can’t get away, get out of site,” Parsons said.

If escape is not feasible, then one has to take cover. Remaining silent and still under a desk or table, or in a closet makes one difficult to find.

“Finally,” Parsons said, “if you get cornered and can’t do anything else, do what you can to protect yourself.”

Engaging with a threat is not ideal, but may be necessary in extreme situations.

Simplified, the plan can be shortened into three words: run, hide, fight. This advice is meant to be applied in any dangerous situation, both inside and outside of schools.

“It’s not commonplace yet in Guilford County schools to take this to the students,” Parsons said. “So that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”

Officer Parsons can be found in mobile 211 and will answer any questions or concerns students may have.

He has also prepared further, more detailed information in a PowerPoint found here.

 

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Northwest students learn about active shooter safety