Spinner makes presentations on safety and security to schools throughout the country. He’s currently in talks with Mace Security International, Inc., about finding non-lethal ways for teachers to protect students in case of emergency. School districts in Ohio, Texas, Michigan and New York have implemented programs through Mace® that range from providing pepper spray training for teachers and door protection products to video surveillance.
“When violence hits a small school, like Sandy Hook, every school in America needs to pay attention. As educators, we now train with law enforcement how to respond to the threat of an active shooter incident,” said Spinner, the father of two children.
A North Carolina school board earlier this year voted to spend $34 million on cameras, fences and screening systems. The Charlotte Observer quoted a district commissioner saying, “It will cost us money today but we don’t want it to cost us lives later.”
It’s essential that school districts partner with established security professionals who engage with the school for the long term. Otherwise, schools end up less safe, said John J. McCann, President and CEO of Mace Security International. His team goes onto campuses to assess the situation, offer recommendations and then implement a plan with school officials. “While the world is becoming more lethal, there are definitely non-lethal solutions that offer protection.”
Pamela Malone, a high school teacher in suburban Cleveland for nearly two decades, carries Mace® pepper spray. “Life has unknowns and I just want to be ready to protect myself and my students. These situations are occurring in rural areas, urban areas and the suburbs.”
People who don’t have a plan are more likely to become victims, because “a perpetrator always has a plan,” Malone said. “These situations are occurring in rural areas, urban areas and the suburbs.”
The offender is usually a white male adolescent under stress, with access to firearms, said Lori O’Neill, a security consultant. “I believe, as a professional, that pepper spray gives teachers a strategy to fight back in a way that would stop a shooter. Pepper spray is a counter measure. If you think these shootings can’t happen in your community, you’re in denial.”
Some security consultants, including O’Neill, recommend pepper spray to educators because it’s simple to use, is non-lethal and is a powerful tool that disrupts attacks.
Proactive school safety programs are about preparation, like fire drills.
“The struggle with all personal security is to try and strike a balance between outright terror and fear and this assumption that nothing can ever happen,” O’Neill said. “We need an awareness and alertness, but teachers must also have tools to react in the event something happens. Having tools shouldn” t make you paranoid. Training is key.”
VIEW FROM A SCHOOL SECURITY CONSULTANT
We believe that Mace® pepper spray can play a critical role in the “Counter” part of ALICE because it offers a non-lethal, highly effective way to disrupt an active shooter.
Currently, most ALICE training recommends teachers and students throw things at the shooter if he/she comes into a room. Those items include erasers, books, pens, etc., and, frankly, seem ineffective.
We believe that training teachers and administrators to use pepper spray in critical situations in which they must counter an attacker is far more effective in creating time and space for others to get to safety.
Oleo Resin Capsaicin (OC Pepper), the active ingredient in pepper spray, is derived from chili peppers, and when deployed produces a sensation of burning in any tissue with which it comes into contact ~ particularly the eyes and respiratory system. Assailants, in extreme discomfort, immediately close their eyes while coughing. Pepper spray’s powerful physiological and psychological effects slow and stop attacks, allowing intended victims time to get to safety. The most important factor for schools that may consider adding pepper spray to their safety plans is that it is non-lethal, and even if deployed, will not permanently or seriously injure children.
Pepper guns deliver a stream of pepper spray up to 20 feet away and from any angle.
Creating safe alternatives for our teachers and students is the goal. Pepper spray is a highly effective tool to consider for the classroom.
John J. McCann, a parent of four children, fields calls from grateful educators who trust his company, the oldest and most established provider of personal security products. Mace Security International provides hands-on training and support. Because real safety goes beyond simply selling products. It’s about relationships and programs that consider school design, teacher training and other unique elements. While video surveillance is growing in use, pepper spray products are viewed as integral part of a complete security solution.
Ohio Police Officer Byron Childs, a first responder to a school shooting last year, had to find the parents of children who’d been shot and take those parents to meet with the FBI. “I’m still haunted by the experience,” said Childs, a father of two young children. “As a parent and a law enforcement officer, school safety is a top priority for me.”
John J. McCann said districts face big decisions when it comes to finding the right strategy. Our children are precious, he said. “Mace® products provide peace of mind. We know what works.”
Schools prepare for fires, earthquakes and tornados. Now schools must prepare for armed intruders, Principal Tim Spinner said. “The odds may be unlikely that any tragedy will occur, but if does, it is vital that we’re prepared to protect our children.”