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How Design and Architecture will deter possible shooters.

From powerful audible notifications over loud speakers such as codeblue.com , to limiting the number of entrances/exits; much attention has been paid to making schools safer in the wake of mass shooting after mass shooting.

Design and architecture have always played a role in allowing public buildings and spaces to feel and BE safer.

There have been 150 mass shootings in the U.S. since January 1, 2018, and a shocking proportion of those took place in schools.

After the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, designers placed bollards and concrete planters outside federal buildings to deter truck bombs, and installed glass able to withstand a blast in windows and doors.

“This entrance to a middle school, designed by PBK/IN2 Architecture, includes large glass windows, protective poles and an entrance clearly outlined in red.” – CNN

The need for bollards became increasingly apparent after the car attack in Charlottesville, VA, in 2017, when a car was deliberately driven into a crowd of people who had been peacefully protesting the Unite the Right rally, killing one and injuring 28.

At schools, it’s a challenge. There are many things to consider; visitor parking lots and bus dropoffs, and creating a place that is welcoming to students and that doesn’t resemble a prison. Placing bollards and/or strategically placed planters near the entrance soften the overall design and still prevent a threat from driving into the building. Numerous new schools are now built with a single, primary entrance. Every student, teacher and visitor must come through one entrance.

WINDOWS! Lots of windows! Why?

Windows allow administrators to see folks approaching the building. With lots of glass also comes the challenge of safety. As technology continues to evolve, so will design. Design will adapt, involving law enforcement during the process. Together, we’ll develop strategies that allow our children and teachers not only succeed, but to feel safe and secure in the process. Secur Shade was designed with this in mind.

Our system works in the event of a threat, alerting law enforcement and securing the building, teachers, and its students. But during everyday use, our shades diffuse sunlight with an optimum light-filtering design, that creates a warm, natural light environment for learning.

Contact us to learn more:
802.338.9305
Securshade@gmail.com

Testimonial.

Introducing Armando Villaseca.

Villaseca is a retired Teacher, Principal, Superintendent and Former Vermont Secretary of Education.

Listen to Armando’s poignant words; what Secur Shade will do for teachers, students, staff and parents.

The youth will show us the way.

Herbert Hoover stated it eloquently, “Children are our most valuable resource.”

Teens who changed the world.
These young people know how to get things done.
Emma González

Emma González

Emma González is just an ordinary teen. Fiercely independent, speaks her mind and just like most, wears her strong emotions on her sleeve.

Yet Emma, is far from ordinary. In February ’18, a gunman stormed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people. Emma didn’t let that tragedy defeat her. No way. It sparked a ferocious fire within her. Emma began a national campaign to end gun violence. She emerged as one of the leaders of this new movement and co-founded the gun-control advocacy group Never Again MSD.

Impressive.

She wears daily reminders of the victims of Parkland; an array of rubber bracelets on her left arm. The bands are the memories that no person should ever have to witness. You’ll see on Emma’s right wrist, friendship bracelets. “I have friends who are still alive on my other bracelets,” she says.

In March ’18, she conveyed one powerful speech at the March for Our Lives in D.C. 4 minutes.

Four minutes of silence.

240 seconds was the short length of time it took the gunman to kill 17 people and wound 17 more. Emma read their names out loud. The names of her dead classmates.

Because of her advocacy and activism, Florida lawmakers passed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act in March 2018, which raised the age to buy a firearm from 18 to 21 and requires a 3 day waiting period for most weapons. Progress. Thanks Emma.


Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

What were YOU doing at the age of 15? I remember vividly, sitting in my bedroom, listening to music and drawing. I wasn’t protesting climate change. Greta Thunberg, at the age of 15, staged her first, solitary protest in August ’18 at the steps of Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden.

You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to. And the saddest thing is that most children are not even aware of the fate that awaits us. We will not understand it until it’s too late. And yet we are the lucky ones. Those who will be affected the hardest are already suffering the consequences. But their voices are not heard…. You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before. Like now. And those answers don’t exist any more. Because you did not act in time.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Since then, more than one million students have joined her by walking out of their classrooms to protest against climate change inaction. Greta’s words and passion have inspired MANY. On March ’19 an estimated 1.4 million students in 112 countries around the world joined Greta’s call in striking and protesting.

Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.

courtesy of The Guardian

“Greta, who has been open about how her autism has shaped her activism, recently joined the Extinction Rebellion protests in London and gave a speech at the House of Commons.” – Courtesy of BBC


Malala Yousafzai

“I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is the story of many girls.”

Malala

2012 She spoke out publicly on behalf of girls and their right to learn. And this made Malala a target. One day on her way home from school, a masked gunman boarded her school bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” And then he shot her on the left side of her head

Just like a phoenix from the ashes, the assassination attempt didn’t stop her. She had a choice, she could live a quiet life, or fight.

Malala now travels to many countries to meet other girls fighting poverty, wars, child marriage and gender discrimination. Malala Fund is working so that their stories will be heard around the world.

In 2014 she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Malala’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize.

With more than 130 million girls excluded from education today, Malala has her work cut out for her. There is so much more work to be done. She continues her fight for education and equality. Together, she hopes, we can create a world where all girls can learn and lead.

Trauma can impact learning, behavior and relationships at school.

“Recent neurobiological, epigenetics, and psychological studies have shown that traumatic experiences in childhood can diminish concentration, memory, and the organizational and language abilities children need to succeed in school. For some children, this can lead to problems with academic performance, inappropriate behavior in the classroom, and difficulty forming relationships. Learning about the impacts of trauma can help keep educators from misunderstanding the reasons underlying some children’s difficulties with learning, behavior and relationships. “

https://traumasensitiveschools.org/trauma-and-learning/the-problem-impact/

For the children who have gone through a school shooting, that school turns into a battleground; a trauma trigger sparking fear and dread. The school building houses the danger the child has experienced. A school should be a creative, inspiring place to learn, but a shooting/threat can change all that.

As adults, we are aware of the coping mechanisms we manifest to survive. But for a child, this world is filled with threats. It’s confusing and terrifying.

Coping skills are acquired throughout our lives, but as parents, and teachers we can help our children/students by teaching these very important skills:

  • Stop overscheduling their lives.
  • Make time for play. This is not extra screentime.
  • Make sleep a priority. And create a nightly ritual.
  • Teach your kids to listen to their bodies.
  • Manage your own stress. If you aren’t present, how can you expect them to be?
  • Make mornings calmer.
  • Prepare your kids to deal with mistakes.

“Many of the effects of traumatic experiences on classroom behavior originate from the same problems that create academic difficulties: the inability to process social cues and to convey feelings in an appropriate manner. This behavior can be highly confusing, and children suffering from the behavioral impacts of trauma are often profoundly misunderstood. Whether a child who has experienced traumatic events externalizes (acts out) or internalizes (withdraws, is numb, frozen, or depressed), a child’s behavioral response to traumatic events can lead to lost learning time and strained relationships with teachers and peers.”


https://traumasensitiveschools.org/trauma-and-learning/the-problem-impact/

A school shooting, school lockdown and other traumatic events, will have lasting effects on a child. Some will become preoccupied with their physical appearance; putting too much self-worth on their looks. Eating disorders and psychological damaging behaviors can manifest out of trauma. Students who have experienced trauma can become unsure of adults, fellow students and become very distrustful of the security of the school, in general. We cannot blame them for that. We must encourage conversations with their peers, with their teachers and other supportive groups that they trust. If these fears go unaddressed, this emotional trauma will continue to develop and could create unhealthy relationships for the rest of their lives.

School shooting coverage on TV and how they are blatantly discussed on social media, is absolutely intense. It seems inescapable at times. We’ll hear about the shooting throughout the day, several days, whenever we look at a screen, turn on the radio or look at our phone. The constant inundation of this ‘news’ is intensifying the trauma, making us feel less safe by the minute.  The anxiety grows and grows.

Psychologists describe anxiety as the body’s internal alarm system. But when this ‘alarm system’ is triggered too easily and too frequently, your body will start to alert you when there isn’t any actual danger at all.

The “long trail of trauma” sadly doesn’t just affect survivors of school shootings. It is affecting an entire generation of children who are growing up in the shadow of mass school shootings and lockdown drills — in ways that we cannot yet know or measure. It is also creating a generation of anxious and fearful parents.
I’m the mother of a 9-year-old girl. A few months ago I was driving my daughter to school when we saw a police car racing ahead of us and turning into the street on which her school is located.
“Mommy, is someone shooting people at my school?” she asked. My heart in my throat, I responded, “No, sweetie, someone is probably just being pulled over for speeding,” but inside, I was thinking the same thing.


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/05/opinion/letters/school-shootings-trauma.html

While we impatiently wait for gun reform, the founders of Secur Shade have created a product to make a life-saving decision happen in 3 seconds. Our system simultaneously sends a message indicating a lockdown event with its location within the school to previously selected authorities – principal, security officer, police, DHS, etc.

We must do everything we can to prepare the students, teachers and families – with tools to process their anxieties, fears and traumas. The more we talk about this subject openly, the more we can begin the collective process of healing.

Click here to learn more about Secur Shade’s life-saving technology.

How architecture rebuilds more than just a school.

Healing from trauma takes mental health professionals, support of family and friends, and architecture? Sandy Hook did just that.

Sandy Hook school design was like many other schools across the country built in that time period; lots of brick, rectangular glass, cold steel. Very austere.

What was created in those months, was nothing more than magic. By erasing the horrific past, a phoenix rose from the proverbial ashes in design, light and color!

“Newtown decided it was best to demolish the Sandy Hook school and erect a new building on the same property. The town organized a search to find an architect to design it on a tight 20-month schedule, using $50 million given to the town by the state of Connecticut.” – Courtesy of Architect Magazine

Sandy Hook Architects transform a place of horror, into a place for inspiration and education to flourish.
The old school building was, “a square donut” with a grassy opening at the center. That courtyard was home to the duck family, and was much beloved, so one committee meeting was devoted to figuring out how the NEW courtyards could be incorporated, which is designed more like an airport, than a school.

After interviewing numerous architectural firms, the community decided on Svigals + Partners’. The importance of community, textures, shapes, nature, color, functionality, but most importantly the design is to lift the hearts and minds. The uplifting of spirit started from the get-go.

“I’m thinking all these architects are going to come in with stuffy suits and tell us how it’s going to be done,” remembers Anzellotti, who’s been a custodian with the school system in Newtown for 15 years. “At the very first meeting we sat there and they went to each person individually, in front of everybody, and said, ‘What did this school represent to you? What does this town represent to you?’ I thought that was pretty cool. Everybody shouted out ideas. They didn’t knock anything down, they just listened to everybody.” –Courtesy of Architect Magazine

Curves, waves textures and colors invite you into the new Sandy Hook School.

Svigals insists, “We can’t remember who made any of the decisions. It was so collectivized. For instance, Sandy Hook, which is a small village within the larger municipality of Newtown, is knit together by a series of footbridges across the Pootatuck River. The river and the bridges were one of the things many of the townspeople said they loved.”

Taking inspiration from the surrounding nature, the footbridge motif was created for the school. To enter the school you’ll have to cross 1 of 3 footbridges, a design that also ensures that everyone is forced to approach the building along 1 of 3 well-watched pathways. Simple calculations to the building’s overall design to address security concerns. The approach to security, according to McFadden, was driven by a concept called Criminal Prevention Through Environmental Design, which stresses openness and clear sightlines over ‘bunker-building’.

The final interior design is nothing short of awe-inspiring!

In the last 11 decades, scientific studies have proven that human-environment-reaction in the architectural environment is, to a large percentage, based on the sensory perception of color. In short, it confirms that human response to color is total – it influences us psychologically and physiologically. One of the most amazing results concerning color, is its consistency cross-culturally and around the globe. From women to men, adults to children, and even monkeys to humans, show that color is an international language understood by all.

The end result back at Sandy Hook Elementary is a fascinating study in what happens when an architecture firm invests its ego not in the formal attributes of its buildings, but in the quality of its community collaboration with all the people, young and old, who will use them.

Or as Anzellotti puts it, “It’s almost like we worked for them. That’s how they made us feel. It was really comfortable.”

Phoenixes Rising from the Ashes of School shootings.

Jacob believes age is just a number.
This 17 yr old Senior is planning to run for Mesa’s District 3 City Council seat. This isn’t his first go at running for office. At the very young age of 9, Martinez circulated a petition in his elementary school to provide better lunch options. He has already served on the student council since elementary school, elected as student body president at every school he has attended. And to boot, was chairman of the Arizona Teenage Republicans. Impresssive, right?

Jacob Martinez also helped register more than 200 voting-age students HIMSELF. And that’s not all, last year, as a junior, he became involved in the March For Our Lives, a wonderful student activism group for stricter gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. That one shooting left 17 students and staff dead. March for Our Lives held protests at the state Capitol last Spring, hosted a town hall for gubernatorial candidates in August and so many more events.

“It’s my generation that’s going to be impacted by the decisions that are being made now. We’re the ones that are going to have to face the repercussions and it’s better that we get in there now rather than later.”  -Jacob M. 

Thanks to AZ Central.

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On February 14, 2018, while a Senior at Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, David Hogg was on campus when a 19 yr old former student at the high school started shooting with a semi-automatic rifle after pulling the fire alarm. David was in his AP environmental science class. He heard the ‘pop’ repeating in the hall, that ‘sounded like gunshots.’ David and other students tried to exit the building, but a janitor instructed the students to go back into the classroom. David credits the janitor for saving their lives. The group of students were unaware that were about to head right towards the shooter. A culinary arts teacher pulled him, as well as other students into a closet. That would change anyone’s life.

David took to social media and used his cell phone to record the scene and to interview the other students hiding in the closet, to leave a record in the event that they did not survive the shooting. That’s powerful.

David’s life changed. As so many other’s did that day. Hogg emerged as a leader in the 2018 United States gun violence protests. Along with Alfonso Calderon, Sarah Chadwick, Emma González, Cameron Kasky and other students, he turned to the media to talk as survivors of the shooting and started using his voice on gun control and gun violence issues. He has called on elected officials to pass gun control measures and has been a vocal critic of officials who take donations from the NRA, and he has been urging them to compromise on legislation to save lives.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Hogg, he has helped lead several high-profile protests, marches, and boycotts. With his sister, (who also survived the Parkland shooting), he wrote a book titled #NeverAgain: A New Generation Draws the Line that made the New York Times bestseller list. And if that wasn’t enough, they have pledged to donate all income from the book to charity.

“What if we taxed guns, made a gun registration process for them and had licensing for owners just like cars? We could use that money to help harden soft targets like schools and many other places with bulletproof windows and doors.” — David Hogg via Twitter

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Emma González

“I don’t remember exactly when I found out Carmen Schentrup was dead. Carmen and I became friends in middle school. We had science together. …We rode the bus together every day after school… At her birthday parties everyone would eat pizza and watch a movie in the Schentrups’ living room, and then after the movie we would all just talk — about school, politics, life. I still have one of her party invitations taped up on my mirror. I found out she was dead on Feb. 15. I think it was the 15th — that’s when The Miami Herald released the names of those who had been killed the day before in the shooting at my high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, in Parkland, Fla. I’d thought she’d only been injured. I remember thinking that very clearly; she has only been injured, don’t worry about her. “ shared Emma with The New York Times

Surviving a horrific event such as this and at the same time, discovering best friends, close acquaintances, teachers, staff and lost friends died, how would that effect YOU?

It changed Emma.

3 days after the shooting, on February 17, 2018, González gave an 11-minute speech in front of the Broward County Courthouse at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the speech she pledged to pressure lawmakers to change the law. “We are going to be the last mass shooting,” Emma proclaimed. “That’s going to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas in that textbook, and it’s all going to be due to the tireless efforts of the school board, the faculty members, the family members and most importantly the students.”  The most quoted part of her speech was “We call B.S.”  Emma is also a part of March for our Lives advocate group. Also has had many articles published by The New York Times and Harpers Bazaar.

“The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us … And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and are prepared to call B.S.”  – Emma González

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“It has been months since the shooting. But whenever one of my friends finds an old picture of someone who died that day, or another shooting happens, or I hear helicopters or one too many loud bangs in one day, it all starts to slip. It feels like I’m back at the vigil, in the hot Florida sun, with volunteers handing out water bottles to replenish what the sun and sadness had taken away. Looking for friends and finding them, hugging them, saying, “I love you.” Looking for friends and not finding them.” –Emma G. via The New York Times

These are just three amazing individuals that have suffered tragedy and are trying to make a difference in the world they live in. True phoenixes from ashes of horrific events. There are SO MANY more amazing young people stepping up and showing us how to change the world for the better. Inspiring, indeed.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission

458 page report just released. Bottom line?
Teachers should be armed. Not less guns, more guns. Yeah, say that out loud. This is not the solution, but let’s hear more.

Is that the solution?
“So what are we saying to people—we’re not going to allow you to defend yourself, we’re not going to allow you to defend the kids—why? Because of some ideology that we don’t like guns? Anyone who thinks they’re going to get rid of guns is crazy,” Gualtieri said. “It isn’t going to happen. We’ve got to do something differently and people should be able to protect themselves.” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chairman of the commission.

When the report was released, students, teachers and parents passionately disagreed. Currently, Florida schools are already allowed, under present law, to arm some employees, such as resource officers and/or administrators.

“As a student attending school in Florida, I am appalled that the commission that was established to make schools in our state safer is recommending teachers carry guns,” Juliana Simone Carrasco, a student and volunteer with Students Demand Action said, according to The Guardian.

“I don’t want my teachers to be armed, I want my elected leaders to pass policies to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous intentions to begin with.”

A program already in trial, is training teachers to carry weapons. It’s called the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, named after the coach who protected students during the Parkland attack. Students vehemently object to the program being named after the coach. The Broward County School Board voted against the program.

“The report carries many other recommendations, including allowing school districts to increase taxes in order to raise money for school security, and requiring mental health providers to notify authorities if a patient threatens anyone. The report also sharply criticizes law enforcement officials who failed to stop the attack. “ – Courtesy of Splinter News 

The report recommends that Florida “expand the guardian program to allow teachers… to carry concealed firearms on campuses for self-protection, and the protection of other staff and students in response to an active assailant incident.”Board members say it’s unlikely that the Broward County School Board will approve the recommendation this time around.

“I am very concerned about arming teachers,” school board member Robin Bartleman told the Sun-Sentinel. “I think it’s a discussion we need to have with the community. I have not found many people in favor of this. The overwhelming response I get is people don’t want teachers with guns.” – Courtesy of Splinter News

Teachers chose this profession to teach. TO educate. To bestow knowledge. Not to be substitute law enforcement. Let’s leave the guns to the trained professionals, and encourage knowledge, remove the threat and let teachers educate our children. The law currently states teachers aren’t allowed to be armed, except current military members, those with law enforcement experience and ROTC instructors.

“The report is not the commission’s final act. It is impaneled until 2023. It will identify areas requiring further investigation and make additional recommendations. Despite the traumatic impact of the massacre, the report says many entities, such as school districts, have been slow to make changes.” -courtesy of The Sun Sentinel 

School Shootings are not new.

The earliest known school shooting in the United States on school property was,  the Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre on July 26, 1764,

4 Lenape American Indian entered the schoolhouse (near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania), shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, killed 9-10 children (varying reports) and only two children survived the massacre. 

Starting in the mid-1800’s school shooting started to become more prevalent. 1853, 67, 68, 73, 79, 84 and the list goes on. 

What has changed in the present day events is the amount of deaths per shooting. In the 1800-early 1900’s shootings, one to 3 people were shot and not all ended in death. 

Today, the U.S. statistics are staggering.

Annual numbers look like this:
1992-1993 (44 Homicides & 55 Deaths resulting from school shootings)
1993-1994 (42 Homicides & 51 Deaths resulting from school shootings)
1994-1995 (17 Homicides & 20 Deaths resulting from school shootings)
1995-1996 (29 Homicides & 35 Deaths resulting from school shootings)
1996-1997 (23 Homicides & 25 Deaths resulting from school shootings)
1997-1998 (35 Homicides & 40 Deaths resulting from school shootings)
1998-1999 (25 Homicides from school shootings in the U.S.)
1999-2000 (25 Homicides from school shootings in the U.S.) 

2000-2001 (19 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2001-2002 (4 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2002-2003 (14 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2003-2004 (29 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2004-2005 (20 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2005-2006 (5 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2006-2007 (38 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2007-2008 (3 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2008-2009 (10 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2009-2010 (5 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)

-courtesy of https://www.k12academics.com/

2011 (5 Deaths, 13 injured resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2012 (41 Deaths 16 injured resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2013 (17 Deaths 34 injured resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2014 (15 Deaths 36 injured resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2015 (20 Deaths 41 injured resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2016 (10 Deaths 15 injured resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2017 (17 Deaths 28 injured resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
And currently in 2018 44 Deaths and 81 injured resulting from school shootings in the U.S. -courtesy of Wikipedia

Students who were evacuated after a shooting at North Park Elementary School walk past well-wishers to be reunited with their waiting parents at a high school in San Bernardino, California, U.S. April 10, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

What are similarities of the shooters?

When interviewed by authorities, shooters often told investigators that alienation or persecution drove them to violence. Instead of looking for traits, Secret Service urges all adults to ask about behavior:

1. What has this child said?
2. Do they have grievances?
3. What do their friends know?
4. Do they have access to weapons?
5. Are they depressed or despondent?

One “trait” that has not yet attracted as much attention is the gender difference: nearly all school shootings are perpetrated by young males. Is violence gender specific?

Only 2 female school shooting incidents have been documented. – courtesy of https://www.k12academics.com/school-shootings  

With each new shooting, we have to ask the important question, how can we do the most to protect our children, our educators, our future from murdered? 


Mother and son after Sal Castro school shooting