New York – May 15, 2018 – This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week – where communities demonstrated their appreciation for all that teachers do. Let us be reminded of all that a teacher does and may be called upon to do. How much do parents appreciate what teachers do to protect their children? In addition to teaching, their roles may quickly change to that of a defender or first responder. Let us remember all of these unsung heroes.

Dominick Tarquinio, CEO & Founder of TARQMAX Solutions LLC and Certified School Safety Specialist has taken matters into his own hands by writing a proclamation in recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Week declaring that every teacher should also be recognized as a “Defender”. Therefore, be it resolved he hereby proclaims May 13, 2018 as the first National Defender’s Day.

A teacher’s role has certainly gone through drastic changes in the last ten years. The only drill administrators, teachers, and students had to complete was a monthly fire drill.  Although fire drills are important, completing one became routine.  Teachers and students alike never exhibited nervousness or anxiety during these fire drills.  However, fast forward to 2018, where fire drills have become a benign drill compared to the various security drills that are performed throughout a school year.  In addition to a fire drill each month, a school will also complete a shelter-in-place, an evacuation drill or an active shooter drill.  When students and teachers are hiding in a corner and under furniture, nervousness and anxiety is evident.   Unfortunately, school shootings have risen in the last number of years.  “ ‘Since Columbine in 1999, there have been 25 fatal, active school shootings at elementary and high schools in America’ ” with the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in which 20 young children and six adults were killed” (Diebel). The most recent school shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were killed – 14 students and 3 faculty members.

Teachers go into teaching because they want children to learn, to grow, to see their potential and to succeed in life.  Teachers are trained in their disciplines.  Additionally, on the job experience fosters them to “read” children – to notice if something is not quite right, to offer an ear, a lending hand, encouragement. Teachers are the ones to notice if a student is depressed or happy, needs to be pushed or have the reins lessened, needs forgiveness or the lesson of a consequence.  Special bonds between students and teachers are formed.  It is for these reasons that teachers will instinctually defend when their students are threatened.

Conversely, men and women become police officers and firefighters because of their commitment to serve.  Going into this vocation, they are aware of the hazards of the job.  Their training provides them with scenarios, strategies, psychological assistance and practice.  This training allows them to be prepared as first responders.   Yet, we all know who the first people are to respond in a school shooting – it is the teacher, the administrator and staff.  They all must defend, regardless of lack of specialized training, while waiting for the first responders to arrive.

This dichotomy of these aforementioned professions is apparent, yet a teacher’s profession in a school shooting is similar to that of a first responder. “…during schools shootings buildings are typically placed on lockdown – so assistance from paramedics or EMTs often doesn’t reach the injured until the scene is safe and police are in control” (Reinberg).  Thus, in addition to defending, school personnel may be faced with the situation to treat.  “The American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS COT) is leading the effort to save lives by teaching the civilian population to provide vital initial response to stop uncontrolled bleeding in emergency situations”  (Bleeding Control). The role of a teacher and administrator can quickly change from defender to the first responder until the trained first responders arrive.

Despite this, the only training a teacher receives is written and verbal protocols, along with drill practice.  This drill practice does not mirror a real-life shooting.  In a real-life scenario, many factors come into play.  Teachers must rely upon instinct.  In some school districts, teachers have the authority to make a split second decision to either lock down or flee.  In the best case scenario, this may be the only thing the teacher may have to worry about.  Other factors that come into play are if there are young, scared children in their room.  Couple that with severely handicapped or autistic children.  Add children who yell, grunt or scream when they are scared or if their routine is changed.  Yet another layer is added when a student thinks the “drill” is a joke.  To make an already stressful situation worse, there is a student who is banging on the door and screaming to enter the classroom, but the door is already locked.  Protocols require teachers not to open the door for that student.  Teachers are not psychologically trained to react this way.

There is not a one size fits all in responding to an active shooter.  Most active shooter procedures are to implement protocols and minimize the target profile.  While this sounds like a simple task, at times, it may be daunting.  Human error and emotions come into play.  Additionally, a substitute teacher may be in a particular classroom for the day.  He or she may work in various districts and protocols often vary from school to school.  Fumbling for a key to lock the door adds yet another stressor to this situation. Teachers must be given the tools to lock down a classroom to deter an intruder or active shooter. LOCKAIDE® provides an additional layer of classroom security that eliminates the need to search and fumble with keys when every split second counts. Teachers are not trained as police officers are.  Ultimately, each teacher will use his/her judgment and act in the way he/she sees best to ensure the safety of the students.

Teachers and administrators have lost their lives defending their students. Where did it ever state this risk when we entered the field of education?  Too often we remember the shooter.  Who can remember the names of the teachers and principals lost in the last 25 school shootings?  In that split second, they did what they believed was the best for the children.   

Schools are still safe places.  The mindset today is still that it will not happen in our school.  The same was probably thought of all the teachers, administrators and students at those twenty-five schools.  This week is teacher appreciation week – where communities demonstrate their appreciation for all that teachers do.  Let us be reminded of all that a teacher does and may be called upon to do.  In addition to teaching, their roles may quickly change to that of a defender or first responder.  Let us remember all of these unsung heroes. 

TARQMAX Solutions LLC is the sole manufacturer and vendor of the LOCKAIDE® product. LOCKAIDE® is a stainless steel made anti-latching device that is installed directly on the edge of the door allowing the door lock latch to engage and disengage when needed. In the event of a lock down the teacher can instantly lock down the classroom by simply sliding the actuator knob of the LOCKAIDE® shield.

For more information visit: http://www.lockaide.com .

Works Cited:

“Bleeding Control.” American College of Surgeons, www.facs.org/publications/newsletters/cot-news/summer2017/bcon

Diebel, Matthew. “Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Emotionally Lists All 25 Fatal School Shootings since Columbine.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 15 Feb. 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/02/15/fox-news-anchor-shepard-smith-emotionally-lists-all-25-fatal-school-shootings-since-columbine/340108002/

Reinberg, Steven. “In Shooting’s Wake, ‘Stop the Bleed’ Kits Urged for Schools.” WebMD, WebMD, 16 Feb. 2018, www.webmd.com/children/news/20180216/in-shootings-wake-stop-the-bleed-kits-urged-for-schools#1

2018 Copyright – All rights reserved. Dominick Tarquinio – TARQMAX Solutions LLC

In recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Week, Dominick Tarquinio, CEO & Founder of TARQMAX Solutions LLC declares that every teacher should be also recognized as a  “Defender” as they help to make our schools safer across America. As we appreciate all of our teachers for their hard work and dedication to all students nationwide to serve by teaching and by protecting (defending) the learning environment.

WHEREAS, on behalf of over 100 million students (K-12 & Universities) across the United States, I am proud to celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week and encourage all of our students to thank a teacher who has madetheir classroom safer so that learning can take place.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that I, Dominick Tarquinio, CEO of TARQMAX Solutions LLC, do hereby proclaim May 13, 2018, as National Defender’s Day designed to honor the unsung heroes – our teachers – that protect our students.

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