Dani Robbins

What Went Right?

In Leadership, Organizational Development on December 17, 2012 at 10:02 am

I am devastated by the killings in Newtown CT, and the number of children and educators who were killed; the fact that a mass killing happened again, and so soon after the last one; the fact that we seemingly have no capacity to protect ourselves or our children.
There is one small sliver of hope in this tragedy. There was an obvious plan in place: the staff were trained; they had prepared for this possible reality, as horrific as it was, and they knew what to do.
Whenever there is a tragedy of this magnitude, or even tragedies of much smaller magnitudes, I always try to find the good.
What went right?
Teachers knew to hide the children in their classrooms, and they knew how and where.
The students knew to be quiet and to listen.
Someone told the children to “close their eyes and run.” I cry even as I write it, but imagine the forethought required to remember in the midst of terror, that we still have an obligation to protect children, at whatever level we can, and those children will be better because while they heard the bullets and knew the fear, they didn’t seen the carnage.
We all like to think that it couldn’t happen here. I’m sure the people of Newton CT (and Chardon OH) thought the same thing. It’s what I’d like to believe as well. But like them, I know that while I hope and pray it won’t, I need a crisis management plan for my organization in case it does. And like all plans that work when you need them to, the plan needs to include training and instructions for staff, children and visitors, a risk mitigation review and a building assessment. It needs to be taught, practiced, and reinforced, and things that came up during the year that shouldn’t have happened need to be discussed to ensure they don’t next time. Everybody needs to know the plan and their role in securing the building and protecting lives.
Planning and preparation won’t necessarily save us, but if evil comes to our corner of the world, it will help to minimize the loss, as it did in both Chardon and Newtown.
As always, I welcome your comments and experience.

  1. Dani, great article!

    Teresa A. Trost


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