Burleson Kids Taught to Fight Back

I have a school-age child, and I worry.  I also think this is a good idea.

EDUCATION with Student NewsBURLESON, Texas (AP) — Youngsters in a suburban Fort Worth, Texas, school district are being taught not to sit there like good boys and girls with their hands folded if a gunman invades the classroom, but to rush him and hit him with everything they’ve got — books, pencils, legs and arms.

“Getting under desks and praying for rescue from professionals is not a recipe for success,” said Robin Browne, a major in the British Army reserve and an instructor for Response Options, the company providing the training to the Burleson schools.

That kind of fight-back advice is all but unheard of among schools, and some fear it will get children killed.

And I pray it never comes up.


  1. John J. Coupal says:

    The passengers on Flight 93 have taught us how to approach terror wherever it occurs, even in the classroom.

  2. I think that one of the things that made 9/11 the “success” it was, was that, prior to that day, a hijacking meant going to some other country’s airport, then some kind of demands made with the passengers as hostages. The passengers on Flight 93 eventually figured out that it was all about using the plane as a missile, at which point they literally had nothing to lose.

    In these school shootings, the perpetrators no doubt are quite ready for an attack, so going at them with books or whatever only hastens the bloodshed, so encouraging schoolchildren to intervene is to ask them to sacrifice their lives.

  3. I gotta admit, just as you don’t want to bring a knife to a gun fight, you don’t want to bring a book to one, either…

    The flight 93 situation was 43 grown adults going after three men with knives… a far cry from 30 kids going after an armed individual..

    I, too, fear for my kids in this type of situation, but I really can’t support asking young kids to attempt to rush an armed individual with a gun, armed with pencils and books…

  4. I go on record as being against using children as attack raids, law enforcement, or anything of the like.

    I’m guessing the teachers are taught to hide under their desks while the children stab the intruder with pencils.

  5. I don’t know what I think on this one. It’s become such a crazy world… Although an organized attack on one individual makes sense, I’m not sure that children could pull it off. Maybe they need to have a secret button in teachers’ desks, like they have at the bank, to call the cops. Kind of like that radio in the ER we used to have–where if we clicked it, the cops would call and if we answered “Everything’s okay” they’d come with a Swat Team…

  6. Goatwhacker says:

    This strategy would work much better with the older kids obviously. It’s true that the kids intervening would be risking their lives, but I think the point of the article is that failure to intervene is also risking their lives.

    In most school shootings the gunman is allowed to methodically pick off students and staff while law enforcement is either on the way or organizing outside. It’s a question of which is the lesser of two evils, less kids being harmed while they hopefully subdue the attacker or more kids being harmed while they cooperate with the attacker?

  7. TheNewGuy says:

    If you’re going to die anyway, why not die with your boots on? I can see it from that standpoint.

    Older children or high-school students could muster sufficient resistance, but younger children would be Lilliputian targets rushing an armed/trained Gulliver. They might succeed in sticking a pencil in his leg, but that’s probably all.

    I think I’d arm teachers before I’d encourage young children to throw themselves at an armed attacker like some kind of miniature human-wave attack. That said, at least they’re thinking correctly in terms of resistance, though this may be a little too “outside the box” for most school districts.

  8. Aerospace Genius says:

    When your choice consists of becoming either a raped and murdered victim or a dead hero, which would you choose? There is no realistic third option in this scenario.

  9. The world is a scary place

    I think the key here is training. But, this begs the question, how much training can the school provide and what will they do to make it stick? Training school children (or anyone for that matter) to react to an emergency involves mentally and physically preparing them for the unexpected. This doesn’t mean they should be taught to run towards the sound of gun fire, sharpened pencil in hand. However, hiding “under desks and praying for rescue…” isn’t really a good answer either. This means teaching basic tactics which can be understood by the kids and coordinated by teachers and/or staff. It doesn’t have to be an advanced course from West Point. Instead how about teaching them to find cover, identify the threat, identify escape routes, call for help, distract and confuse the attacker, and THEN counterattack if possible.

    Keep this in mind, anyone who is going to shoot up a school is not a rational person. If someone decides to go on a shooting spree, then blood will hit the floor regardless. There are people in this world who don’t think that meeting violence with violence is the right thing to do. Sadly, it’s the only language some people know how to speak.

  10. I applaud this. Why teach everyone to be full of terror all the time? “Let’s roll!” indeed!

  11. Doc Wannabe says:

    Speaking as someone with 7 years of military and civilian security experience as well as some CJ in college, not that it makes me an expert but I hope it lends me a little knowledge, I am totally in favor of 1. arming teachers and 2. providing conflict/crisis management classes geared to the age group in question.

    Regarding arming teachers, I think this has, unfortunately, become a necessity in our society where the only requirement to be a parent seems to be functioning genitals. I find it ethically reprehensible that so many kids are being brought up to think the world revolves around them and to have little or no respect for human life, sometimes including their own.

    At least with armed teachers, there is a CHANCE, albeit a slim one, for some form of retaliation against perpetrators looking to harm our children. Some argue that arming the teachers will only “provoke” the perps to blitz up front. That is however a massive logic fallacy in that, by that logic we should disband our military so that terrorists won’t be as inclined to attack us.

    It’s the logic of people afraid of the brutal realities of the real world sadly. The best way to fight this sort of crime is simply to make parents teach their kids right. But since no political party would DARE try that openly because the people would be offended/threatened by having to be held LEGALLY accountable for their actions, it’s not going to happen. I don’t mean to sound Big Brother but it’s just that simple. Teach kids to care about their fellow humans and, aside from mental illness or biological accidents (toxins, etc.) there would be a drastic drop in these crimes.

    Getting to the second reaction, training the kids in self-defense, I think martial arts and confrontation management should be as required as reading, writing and ‘rithmetic (are those even required anymore? LOL).

    Preparing people, especially from a young age, to deal with the nasty realities of our sick world will at least provide them with options. There ARE situations in which you do NOT want to rush the perp. If they’ve begun letting people, go, etc. that is a sign that negotiations might work. But after even one person has been killed, then the perp must be killed at all costs. It’s that simple. They’ve proven they have the intent, opportunity and capability to use deadly force so deadly force is necessary to put them down.

    You can’t tell I feel strongly about this can you? :0 I am the father of a young daughter and she is fully aware of what CAN happen in school and what actions she might have to take if cornered.

    Which brings me to one last point. I advocate attacking the perps ONLY if there is no egress. If the shooting is in another part of the school, I have no issue and in fact recommend that those further from the action should beat a retreat immediately.

    I fear in the future we’re going to see these attacks go from simple armed incursions to larger scale massacres using heavier firepower. It’s just how the curve of human sickness seems to go in my estimation.

    Teach your children well. :(

  12. My response as a professional educator?

    Dear God, no.

    I am more than prepared to go after a gunman who invades my classroom, more than willing to lay down my life for my children, but to put my students in harm’s way, to possibly watch them killed as they bum rush a crazy person with a gun?

    Hell no. Worlds of hell no. They will run the other way and I will do everything possible to my last breath to give them time to run.

    (There was a shooting at the middle school I was attending as a student in the 1990s, I’ve been one of the students running away.)