This ain’t the Mainland. At least that’s what the iconic bumper sticker says. Many who live on Maui feel somewhat isolated from the tragic gun violence on the US Continent. But the reality is, with the rise of active gun attacks across the United States, we have to be prepared for violence and the unimaginable horrors of school shootings.
The School Resource Officers of the Maui Police Department – in partnership with the Department of Education – is working to prepare our schools for the possibility of an active attack. The SRO and DOE have put together a series of presentations on strategies to assist our schools in protecting Maui’s keiki during such an event.
The most effective way to train staff to respond to an active attack is to conduct mock “active shooter training exercises,” according to MPD. The SRO hosted its first active training presentation on October 4 at Baldwin High School. There were 131 participants in attendance including students, teachers, administrators, security officers, custodians, and cafeteria workers.
The day started with a tabletop exercise led by vice principal Karen Walker, who recently attended a training facilitated by the MPD and provided by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. A tabletop exercise is a meeting to discuss a simulated emergency situation. That training was open to MPD, school administrators, hotel security directors, and the Red Cross. Participants reviewed and discussed the actions they would take in a particular emergency, testing their plan in an informal, low stress environment. The goal was to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their responses.
The second portion of the day was the Civilian Response to an Active Shooter Event presentation by Baldwin High School resource officer Nephi Laga. The goal of the presentation was to provide strategies and guidance for surviving an active attack event based on the premise of Avoid, Deny, and Defend.
During the final phase of the training, participants took part in a practical exercise utilizing three scenarios of an active attack. They were first guided through the scenarios and walked through the drill. MPD said the final phase of training allowed allowed the participants to reflect and utilize what they learned from the ADD presentation in a controlled manner prior to the mock exercise. The goal was to empower DOE faculty and staff to be successful in the live scenarios.
No details were available about the actual mock attack. The SROs are planning to provide this training for other Maui schools.
Photo courtesy Maui Police Department