NC students teach survival and watching for signs of a school shooter

May 24, 2018

Three days after a deadly school shooting in Texas, frightening words echoed in the halls of North Central High School.

A student walked out of his classroom, turned back and yelled: “I’m so sick of this – you’re all going to pay!”

No one screamed; in fact, the words were applauded by the man behind the camera, who ordered a second take, then a third.

Soon, people around the country will view the “Beyond Lockdown – Preventing and Responding to Extreme School Violence.”

The 12-minute program, scheduled for release next month, seeks to educate students and educators on how to identify trouble before it begins.

To stop the shooter before he even thinks about becoming one.

Produced by the Center for Personal Protection and Safety and ILF Media Productions, of Spokane, the project also offers advice on how students should respond to the imminent threat of a shooter.

More than their 12 minutes of fame, the NC students embraced the message they were sending, the product of two days of work at various sites on the high school campus.

Late Monday afternoon, filming included Spokane police officers portraying the response to a shooting incident.

“I think it’s really important to learn this,” NC junior Katie Hawkinson said as she prepared to cut a scene Monday afternoon. “Even though you’re having this panic and fear and adrenaline, you’ll be able to have a rational thought process.”

“I want to know that these are the steps I need to take to protect myself and the others around me,” she said.

According to the “Beyond Lockdown” script, students have three choices when it becomes obvious a shooter is on the premises: Get out, hide out (or lockdown) and take out.

The last option, if there are no other options, means summoning the courage that most students may not believe they have.

The program implores students to “convince yourself you have what it takes to survive when your life is on the line.”

The script continues: “This is a life-and-death decision only you can make.”

Malik Strandley is only a freshman at NC, but he’s mature enough to know that without some training, he would probably panic during a shooting crisis.

“Without this, I wouldn’t know what to do,” he said.

Most of the program deals with preventive measures, along with some myth-busters. The biggest one: “That someone just snapped.”

In reality, signs of trouble were apparent, if only a classmate knew how look for it.

In most cases – 81 percent, according to a Secret Service study – school shooters had warned someone about the attack.

“Beyond Lockdown” is full of messages about troubling signs, or “behaviors of concern.”

The biggest isn’t the “kid who keeps to himself,” but rather the formerly outgoing classmate who has become emotionally withdrawn.

Other warnings signs cited in the program: prolonged anger, hypersensitivity to criticism, blaming others, preoccupation with violent themes, extreme anxiety and extreme sadness and depression.