Schools discuss active shooter drills
International schools share approaches to more robust student safety in light of increased risk
published : 24 Mar 2023 at 20:31
writer: Apinya Wipatayotin
A network of international schools has provided active shooter preparedness training as part a crisis management course for students and faculty, a meeting was told.
Representatives of international schools nationwide recently gathered for an annual meeting to share their experiences.
One of the issues raised was how to keep students and faculty safe during an active shooter situation. The risk of such incidents is seen as having increased in light of the Nakhon Ratchasima shootings in 2020 and the Nong Bua Lam Phu massacre last year.
Usa Somboon, president of the International Schools Association of Thailand, said safety should be a school’s first priority. Accordingly, association members have added several safety features, including more CCTV cameras and security guards, and promoted closer cooperation with local police.
“Many of them have provided a drill [”Run-Hide-Fight”] on how to survive [active shooter] incidents,” Ms Usa said. “Students experienced the [drill] and practiced [on what to do].”
She said the association, comprising 179 international schools, established a committee on sharing resources and contact information, among others, to ensure that safety measures remain robust.
Poramit Srikureja, assistant chair of the Ramkhamhaeng Advent International School in Bangkok, said it has provided training to students and faculty. It has also worked with local police and communities to monitor suspicious events.
“The school has also adjusted to make the environment safe for children,” he said, adding that severe air pollution and Covid-19 have changed the school’s mindset about approaching challenges in the future.
Dr Lek Sachathep, president of the Kids Kingdom International Kindergarten, said that since the Nong Bua Lam Phu nursery massacre last year, parents have been concerned about a repeat of such an incident.
She said parents were distressed by the tragedy and frequently questioned the school about its prevention measures.
In this case, she said the school offered a lockdown training course to let children know what to do during a time of crisis.
Bruce Grindlay, principal of Rugby School Thailand in Chon Buri, said his school often consulted with its parent school in England to maintain the safety of 210 boarding students, and had over 400 CCTV cameras.
He said the concept of “Run-Hide-Fight” has been provided to students as it is very important to minimise losses.
Meanwhile, Pol Lt Nonthanan Chinthongprasert, a sub-inspector with the Crime Suppression Division, who gave safety instructions to the schools, said it is important to train young students on how to escape violence.
He said they should always have an escape route and plan in mind.
“Children are very smart. They have learned more about weapon models than me,” Pol Lt Nonthanan said. “Learning how to survive during a crisis is very important, and many schools are not aware of the issue.”