ALERRT Active Shooter Training Center Developing “Age-Appropriate” Curriculum for Students

This story is part of a series of KXAN reports titled “Stop the mass shootings“, providing context and exploring solutions around armed violence in the wake of the deadly shooting at the school of Uvalde. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as lawmakers who meet a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Discover all the “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — As the investigation into the The mass shooting at a primary school in Uvalde continues to unfolda group of security experts in Texas is already considering ways to intensify training and prevention methods.

The Law Enforcement Rapid Response Advanced Training Center (ALERT) at Texas State University provides research-based, scenario-driven information active shooter response training law enforcement, first responders and civilians.

ALERRT is creating a new program aimed at preparing students, and deputy director John Curnutt said Tuesday’s tragedy highlights the need for this kind of training, tailored to different stages of development.

“Age-appropriate training – so that they feel empowered to do something for themselves and others on certain levels as they age and develop. As they become young adults , hopefully they will become more able to think critically in these very chaotic and stressful environments,” Curnutt said.

For example, he said, the program would teach young children how to follow specific instructions from their teacher using key words and terminology, so that “children understand what they need to do to kind of , help manage the chaos”. Training for older children would teach them to participate more actively in helping, doing things like locking or barricading doors.

“Also, along the way, we’re starting to introduce them to first aid and then the type of trauma care that we need to teach people for these types of events,” he said.

Curnutt said he recognized how difficult these conversations could be with children, but said he believed they could do more than “protect, shelter” children. He said ALERRT is partnering with other groups, like the Texas School Safety Center, to shape the program accordingly.

“We certainly don’t want to alarm people, but I think people are alarmed right now without having the information that we need to give them,” he said.

He also noted the need for prevention programs to try to stop this type of crisis from happening, in addition to preparedness programs like this.

“It should be done out of love and respect for another person to try to get them the help they need, so it doesn’t show up like this,” he said.

The Texas School Safety Center, also housed at Texas State University, has developed and maintained several different prevention programs. For example, he developed threat assessment training that became mandatory by law after a 2018 high school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.

Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, lawmakers required every school district in Texas to implement a similar threat assessment and screening process. At the time, KXAN reported that the Texas School Safety Center would audit districts and determine which were non-compliant.

According to the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Preventive Security Measures document posted online, each campus has a threat assessment team. KXAN contacted the Texas School Safety Center for details on the statewide status of the program.

“What caused them?” And how can we prevent these things? We are response and recovery specialists,” Curnutt said of ALERRT. “But I would like to improve myself to prevent them.”

Curnutt said the program being developed by ALERRT is still in the early stages of development, but he thinks this tragedy could speed up the process.

“The idea would also be that not only schools in the state, but other states could also adopt it as a model policy,” he said.

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