Thursday, December 12, 2013

André Maginot Memorial Elementary School

So the Today show is running a story entitled "Code Red Lockdown!" about an allegedly forward thinking school in the 'burbs of (where else?) Chicago, where the students practice huddling packed together in locked and darkened classrooms, in case a visitor with ill-intent gets past the background check at the front desk. Because there's no way a bad guy could pass a background check; they're like magic.

Anyway, in the event the secretary up front feels hinky about the strange visitor, she
can also hit a panic-button under her desk and alert local police. In fact, there’s a panic button in every single classroom.
I can only imagine what would have happened if there was a "Call The Cops" button in the classroom when I was in grade school, and it wouldn't have been pretty.The reality is that, should the worst happen, that button will summon people to clean up the mess and identify the suicided gunman. The one thing that could be kept in the classroom that could actually stop the gunman is verboten on campus in the Land of Lincoln.

But what do you expect in a world where even a glimpse of holster on a university campus can turn thousands of young adults, people who are old enough to vote, marry, or jump out of a flaming C-47 into the darkened skies over Normandy, into a panicked mob sending nervous texts from the school library while police choppers orbit overhead chasing ghosts?

36 comments:

Toastrider said...

Gotta love that story. It just reeks of 'keep everyone huddled like prey animals'.

Did you notice the remark about 'custodial interference'? Ah, so basically you can kick out angry parents too... how droll.

What strikes me as particularly amusing (in a bitter way) is how all these countermeasures are strictly passive and do nothing to actually ward off a dedicated shooter. No guards, no ceiling turrets, no corridors suddenly flooded with knockout gas... it's 'lock yourself in your classroom and pray he doesn't get inside'.

staghounds said...


This is the middle of the standard protocol of run, hide, fight.

It makes sense as far as it goes. If you are in a barricadeable, currently safe place without a back door, don't get out of the boat and maybe offer a target.

I suspect that the school doesn't talk about part 3.

Although anyone over about 60 will find this interesting...

http://www.kent.edu/publicsafety/eguide_activeshooter.cfm



Paul said...

Except at Kent State the active shooter was one of the guards. ( I know it was Nat Guard...work with me here )

The ninnies are running things right now so expect more knickers twisting rather than any concrete ideas out of this bunch.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Vo-tech kids at my high school would have figured how to trip the panic button right before every test they had to take. They had a couple of future evil geniuses in that bunch.

Gerry

RabidAlien said...

@Toastrider: Almost correct. Prayer is no longer allowed on campus, either. So huddle and think happy thoughts.

armedlaughing said...

Panic button in one of my schools?
Would rival the fire alarm and calling in bomb threats as a way to postpone tests.
Seriously.

gfa

Dwight Brown said...

"I can only imagine what would have happened if there was a "Call The Cops" button in the classroom when I was in grade school, and it wouldn't have been pretty."

Tam:

Maybe I'm just a walking example of why your Indian name is "Tells Jokes To Aspies", or maybe I'm just stupid and/or naive. But: when I was in grade school, there were "Call The Fire Department" buttons all over the place, and NOBODY ever messed with those. I think everyone knew if they set off the fire alarm without a damn good reason (like, you know, an actual fire) they'd face a pretty severe punishment, followed by another pretty severe punishment when their parents found out.

(Okay, so they weren't literally buttons, but I think the same principle applies.)

Is there a reason to think kids would mess with the "Call the Cops" button any more than they do the fire alarms? Are kids today really that much more out of control then they were when I was in grade school far too many years ago?

Tam said...

Nobody ever pulled a fire alarm during your K-12 years? Really?

Blackwing1 said...

I'm almost (but not quite) amazed at the way the lessons learned on 9/11 in the airplanes has been completely lost in the ground-based victim disarmament zones. Particularly the message:

"If someone is going to try to take over, FIGHT BACK. Even if you've been deliberately disarmed, find any available, ad-hoc item that can be used as a weapon, and fight for your life, and the lives of those around you. If enough of you throw staplers, computer keyboards and monitors, fire extinguishers, notebooks, big heavy textbooks, heck, even sharp pencils, some of you may get close enough to actually distract or do some damage to the shooter. What are we afraid of, that they're going to get mad and hurt us? No, they're trying to kill us anyway, so you may as well go out with your teeth in a throat."

I have become firmly convinced that leaving your children in government schools is a form of child abuse.

Dwight Brown said...

Honest to Ghu, Tam. We had fire drills, and I think maybe even a few false alarms from other sources. But I do not remember anyone ever deliberately pulling a fire alarm.

(Did your schools have the urban legend that if you pulled the fire alarm, it would spray your hands with invisible ink or powder that would light up under a black light? And that if you pulled a false alarm, the fire department would use that to find you? And you'd wind up in juvie?)

JavaMan said...

Wait ... this school is named after the French Minister of War? For whom the Maginot line was named?

I suppose this policy fits right in then. Hide behind a supposedly impenetrable barrier and wait for the enemy to come rolling through.

"The Maginot Line was impervious to most forms of attack, ..."

Except it wasn't impervious to a great big flanking maneuver.

I seriously can't believe they'd name a school after this guy. But then again, Cook County has changed tremendously since I lived there (one notable change from red to blue). My grand father is probably rolling in his grave.

Tam said...

Dwight Brown,

We did not have that rumor, but whoever thought it up is a genius and deserves an award.


JavaMan,

Sometimes I fear my sense of humor is too dry. ;)

Rick C said...

Dwight,

my high school (mid-80s) had at least one faked fire alarm a year. Obviously the school would never come out and say it was done to get out of a test but that was always the assumed reason.

RandyGC said...

We are having similar discussions about the effectiveness of panic buttons in every room. Initial focus was more on a teacher using it every time a special snowflake talked back or flipped the bird.

One of my solutions is as part of the training, inform them that inappropriate use of the panic button by a teacher results in them buying lunch for the SWAT team.

I suppose you could expand that to students. I know I wouldn't want to pay that bill, I've seen some of those guys eat.

Stretch said...

Tam, while your humour is dry as a Dorthy Parker martini Javaman is neither dense nor your humour obtuse.
It is just in this age and political environment it is all but impossible to separate reality from satire from parody.
The writers at The Onion are no longer satirist but prognosticators. A glance at their 2008-2010 issues is ... well, either funny or scary as Hell.

Goober said...

I like the point you made about Normandy. Borepatch made almost the same point today on his blog. It showed a “girlythings” meme about the teenage years that said “drama, lies, beauty, blah blah” and had a pic of a girly girl smiling, and then beneath it he’d posted a picture of an obviously teenaged US soldier in the sh*t over in some 3rd world hellhole.

We have a huge gap in our populace that separates those of us that understand how the world actually works, and those of us who reject reality and substitute their own wishful thinking. Amazingly enough, it also seems to coincide with urban vs. non-urban population centers pretty nicely.

Firehand said...

"Hey, people worked hard to make those teenagers the pussy little wrecks they are! Show some respect!"

Discouraging, isn't it? People who were adults a generation ago are now 'children' until the age a lot of them got back from winning a war.

And a lot of them shit on the people who still are winning(when they're allowed to).

Tam said...

"an obviously teenaged US soldier in the sh*t over in some 3rd world hellhole."

British soldier, most likely (DPM and MTP camo.)

That was an Afghan flag on the wall behind him.

Tam said...

But then again, I'm in an urban center, so I might be wrong. ;)

Stuart the Viking said...

When I was a few weeks into my Junior year of high school, my family moved into the city. I had grown up rural, and at my new school my Junior was larger than the entire town that I had come from (I was coming from a Junior class of around 20). It was a culture shock to be sure.

The classrooms had "panic buttons" that called the office via an intercom (it didn't summon the police though). On my very first day, I had the "panic button" pushed on me because the teacher was trying to open a taped shut box of photocopied material for class with one of those rounded off scissors that they give pre-schoolers. SO... being a country gentleman, I pulled out my pocket knife, opened it, and (attempted to) hand it over to the teacher handle first.

She squeeked...

In "Terror for her life", she pushed the big red button on the wall (at the time, I wasn't even aware of what it was for).

I was quickly dragged off to the principal's office.

Luckily for me, the principal understood where I was from, and how normal it was for a farm kid to carry a pocket knife (and that I wasn't a psychotic maniac for doing so) so I didn't get into too much trouble. He did make me promise to keep the knife hidden in my pocket if I brought it back to school.

That entire year, and the next (my senior year) I didn't hear of a single other time when a "panic button" was pushed, let alone fraudulently. Although, since no alarm sounded, and it just opened a communication channel to the office, I guess it wouldn't have been all that useful anyway.

s

Anonymous said...

Some folks apparently actually looked at data on resisting a gunman:
http://news.yahoo.com/post-newtown--elementary-schools-reject-the-traditional-lockdown-162931633.html

Matthew said...

"(Did your schools have the urban legend that if you pulled the fire alarm, it would spray your hands with invisible ink or powder that would light up under a black light? And that if you pulled a false alarm, the fire department would use that to find you? And you'd wind up in juvie?)"

Dwight,

That's no rumor. It totally happened to a friend of my cousin's once.


Matthew said...

I apparently combined "my cousin's friend" and "friend of my cousin" in an ungrammatical and unholy union.

Dwight Brown said...

"I apparently combined "my cousin's friend" and "friend of my cousin" in an ungrammatical and unholy union."

I believe those kinds of unions are now legal in 39 out of the 50 states.

Steve Skubinna said...

Matthew, how about the chemical in the swimming pool that turned purple if you peed? I always heard about it but...

Actually, once a bunch of us decided to test it by peeing in the pool simultaneously, on the theory that if the entire pool turned color at once they couldn't single out any one of us. We got lucky - must have picked the day before the maintenance guys put it in or something.

Incidentally Tam, Maginot never intended his line of forts to be a standalone defense. There was also supposed to be a field army operating from them, but you know, budget cuts...

It also didn't hurt that the clever Froggies refused to fortify their Belgian border so as not to hurt the widdle fee-fees of the Flems and Walloons. Dealing with Germans is bad, but God forbid you piss off the Belgians.

Ted N said...

I've heard the French are a great army, the politics and budget are what screw them.

Joe in PNG said...

Steve: The really sad thing is that WW 2 wasn't the first time Germany tried the whole "go through Belgium to avoid the French frontier forts" thing.

Anonymous said...

The UV powder is not an urban legend. I'm a firefighter, and our fire marshal dusts the pull stations in the high and middle schools every year before school starts.

The schools also have a camera on almost all of the pull stations. Takes all the fun out of it (for them).

We have very few false alarms in our schools any more.

Ed said...

It is a small step, but at least you can now store a firearm in your vehicle parked on a Florida university or college campus, even if the university or college does not want you to:

http://www.floridacarry.org/litigation/21-statecourt/45-florida-carry-sues-over-university-parking-lot-gun-ban

BTW, the Belgians had their own forts, but they did not do too well, either:

http://niehorster.orbat.com/021_belgium/forts/_forts-part_01.htm

http://niehorster.orbat.com/021_belgium/forts/_forts-part_02.htm

http://niehorster.orbat.com/021_belgium/forts/_forts-part_03.htm

The grounds around Fort de Boncelles in Seraing outside Liege were used by the Germans for AAA guns until 1944, when it was occupied by the U.S. for the same purpose and for guarding the approaches to a bridge across the Meuse River during the Battle of the Bulge:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_de_Boncelles

staghounds said...

I prosecute 100% of the Juvenile Court cases in a county with more than 42,000 students in the government system and about 5000 in the private schools.

In 12 years I have had only three or four PULLED false alarms. (as opposed to telephoned ones or bomb threats, that runs 2 annually or so.)
The fire investigator tells me that they get maybe three or five a year. And this is a pretty urban place, maybe 20% on public assistance. Seems like the youngsters do respect the alarms.

TJIC said...

> the students practice huddling packed together in locked and darkened classrooms, in case a visitor with ill-intent gets past the background check at the front desk.

I remember that movie.

28 Days Later was much better, but still, 28 Weeks Later was decent.

mariner said...

Is there a reason to think kids would mess with the "Call the Cops" button any more than they do the fire alarms? Are kids today really that much more out of control then they were when I was in grade school far too many years ago?

Yes, yes and "Where have you been the last three decades?"

Steve Skubinna said...

Joe in PNG: And that's why it worked! Nobody expected the Boche would try the same trick twice!

Steve Skubinna said...

Ed, I always assumed that the Belgian's Fort Eben Emaul was a massive structure with monster guns that would sweep the horizon.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that the main armament was one twin turret with 4.7 inch (120mm) cannon. It was intended to interdict a single strategic road junction.

Incidentally the Wehrmacht glider-borne assault on it was apparently the first combat use of shaped charges.

waepnedmann said...

staghounds

I always wondered if the photographer caught the 1911 near the end of an ejection operation or if the left- handed officer had shot it empty to slide-lock.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, when I attended college (1990-91), at a small UK satellite campus, there were multiple false fire alarms per week, multiple false fire alarms DAILY during Finals Week. I never heard of anyone being prosecuted for them.

But then it was also my fortune to be on campus during the October 1991 race riots, during which the university's minimum-wage rent-a-cops locked themselves in their offices and refused to answer the phones and the state police had to restore order, the race riots which the college president vehemently denied took place in the next week's edition of the school paper, and went so far as to threaten expulsion of persons spreading "false rumors" that the "diverse urban yoots" the university had imported at great expense from Florida and Noo Yawk to play "fooball" had spent days roaming the campus, overturning cars, setting cars on fire, beating and occasionally raping random white kids whenever they found one alone, in revenge for some doubtless imagined slight.

The things you learn in college. One of them was that I should never go out in public unarmed, without an edged weapon on my person at the very least.