FRISCO, TX (WFAA) -- In the four years since 27 people, most of them young children, were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, guidelines and procedures have been created.
Some schools and districts have increased police security, while others have crafted lockdown drills and practices. Handgun licenses have been offered to teachers, and private companies have been born to help fill the need of training and preparation.
However, finding a uniform plan for everyone to follow in reaction to active shooter situations has remained elusive, lending more to the importance of noticing red flags and warning signs beforehand, rather than after a shooting, has been stressed.
These are just a few of the legacies from one of the country’s most horrific school shootings.
“Sandy Hook did not start on December 14, 2012,” said Heidi Wysocki, the owner of Frisco-based First Defense Solutions. “It started months, and possibly years before, and nobody connected the dots.”
First Defense Solutions is one of the private companies created in the wake of numerous school shooting incidents in recent years. It has the goal of providing the proper protection, planning, and training. Wysocki said the best way to keep students safe is to be proactive, echoing the sentiment of a recent Public Service Announcement.
“People [in Sandy Hook] did not have the information. We did not have a shared knowledge base across parents, teachers, and the community.”
Wysocki said a school shooting happens approximately once every three weeks in the United States. Yet, she said fire drills and tornado drills are practiced in schools much more often than lockdowns or other drills that would be used in the case of an active shooter.
And even still, they may differ greatly depending on where you go.
“Everyone has lockdown procedures. The problem is they vary from school to school,” said Wysocki. “You may have one county that does a drill twice a year and another may only require one a year.”
RUN, HIDE, FIGHT
Guidelines like “Run, Hide, Fight” have been taught in training by some, and also scrutinized by critics, but such plans-of-action cannot necessarily be taught to all students.
Especially those as young as the ones in Sandy Hook.
But Wysocki believes there is still an opportunity for parents and teachers to have the conversation with children.
“Depending on the age of the child and the maturity of the child, people will approach that differently,” she said. “You want to be able to tell them that this is much like a fire drill, something we do for safety.”
TEACHERS AND GUNS
Two of the discussions to emerge from Sandy Hook were gun safety and arming teachers. There were several initiatives providing handgun training to teachers, but Wysocki is skeptical of it being a solution to school shootings.
“Teachers did not go into education to become security guards,” she said.
Putting a gun in a teacher’s hand comes with a huge burden according to Wysocki. Doing so requires them to assume the risk of not only taking on gunfire, but squeezing the trigger and possibly taking a life.
Instead, she feels the combination of proactive training along with professional law enforcement or security is the best way to prevent another Sandy Hook from happening.
“That is why privatizing this has come into play. You have a lot of people who have that skill set who are qualified, willing, and invested in doing this on a privatized side that actually saves money long-term.”