Active Shooter Instruction: How to Behave During a School Shooting

By Jullian Aiden Bravo

At an active shooter instruction, campus police administrator Steve Lux outlined a step-by-step plan of action for students in the midst of an on-campus shooting.

Lux, a law enforcement veteran of 25 years, began instruction with a historical overview of mass shootings. He said the Columbine shooting was a turning point for law enforcement nationwide. It was only after the fact that police realized they needed to change the nature in which they handled such situations.

And while police officers today are trained to effectively deal with active shooters, most students, however, are unaware of how to behave during these situations.

According to Lux, the best place to be during a school shooting is off campus. When the opportunity arises, it is best to run off school grounds and avoid running to your vehicle.

If you are in class, however, the best thing to do is to lock the door, turn out the lights, find a safe spot—away from any potential line of fire—and remain quiet. Most gunmen will simply pass by a dark room that appears empty. When possible, students or instructors can use the standard classroom telephone to contact Campus Police.

In any stressful situation, anxiety is a natural reaction. Lux advises students to remain calm and practice what is referred to as a "combat breathing." Simply inhale and hold for four seconds before exhaling through the mouth. Remember, you are not alone. Classmates should do their best to console each other and reduce anxiety.

If a gunmen takes over the class, the students themselves are the first responders. The worst case scenario is to fight. Make the gunman think in order to distract and disarm. To control the barrel is to control the gun and, thus the gunman.

"Don't be rational with an irrational person," Lux said. "You have the right to defend yourself."

Lux also noted the importance of responsible cellphone usage. Students are not discouraged from communicating with family during a school shooting but it is important to be aware of the information or potential misinformation being sent out.

Another point Lux discussed is the importance of being cognizant of your surroundings. When entering a building, always scan the room and know where the exits are. And when walking on campus at night, avoid cellphone usage.

"If your head is down you look like a victim," Lux said.

The Campus Police Department also has a security escort service for anyone who fears walking alone on campus. The number for the security escort service is 909-652-6632 and the number for the 24/7 Campus Police dispatch center is 909-652-6911.

And lastly, an act of kindness to anyone can go a long way. Most gunmen feel ostracized from society. Taking the time to know and understand people can prevent school shootings.

"Sometimes if we acknowledge someone of their existence it can make a difference in their life," Lux said. "It's important that people feel connected through other people."