Local Students, Staff Learn How to Fight Back Against Active Shooters

With the announcement that the 911 tapes from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will soon be released to the public, a local school district is now teaching students and faculty how to fight back against a possible active shooter.

The Downingtown School District hired Alon Stivi, the head of ACT CERT and Bill Latorre, president of Latorre Consulting, to teach students and staff in the district’s 15 schools how to protect themselves from an active shooter. Stivi is a Counter Terrorism Specialist while Latorre is a former Pennsylvania State trooper.

The District is the first in Pennsylvania to learn the ACT Attack Counter Measures Training, lessons that experts say could prove valuable in a life-threatening situation.

“Many of those attacks are preventable and often times they give warning signs before an attack occurs,” said Stivi. 

According to Stivi, almost all mass shooters prepare for an attack in advance, including the suspect in the Sandy Hook shooting.

“One of the things that came out in the report is that the shooter was around the school an entire day the day prior to the shooting,” Stivi said.

Stivi says reporting what’s out of the ordinary could prevent some shootings. He also says however that if there is an active shooter, the worst thing to do is run and hide and lock down without a plan.

“Lock down without barricading is self-entrapment,” Stivi said.

In his training program, Stivi shows teachers how to barricade a room in less than a minute using only a belt, table and cabinets. Stivi and Latorre also say there are plenty of weapons in a classroom that teachers and staff members can use, including scissors.

“When it comes to it, it’s either you fight for survival or you die,” Stivi said. “Dying is not an option.”

For more information on the training program, visit the ACT CERT and Latorre Consulting websites.

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