As a school building and district level administrator I was confronted with the perplexing reality of crazy persons who disregard laws prohibiting murder of children in our schools’ safety zone.

In my last district, very rural Baker City, Ore., (not long after the Sandy Hook massacre of Dec. 14, 2012) some in our community met to consider the challenge. The following generally encapsulates our considerations and implementation.

School safety protocol assumes:

  1. There are sufficient laws against murder.
  2. There are circumstances when there is no one to protect us.

To survive we must be prepared to actively fight the homicidal bully; fight him/her with all your might and stand strong. When confronted, attacker response is unknown, but typically they run, and in a gunfight often kill themselves or die by cop. To date, no child has been murdered behind a prior locked door.

Safe schools have perimeters hardened to entry both physically and by entry protocol with police (when called) immediate intrusion.

Educators defend their students. Notably: Gunfire inside a building with thin walls and hundreds of invisible humans has impossible rules of engagement.

Arm every educator/employee with high volume/concentrated non-lethal fog dispensed bear spray to effectively disable a classroom perpetrator instantly. Allow some guns, with SRO training, because a gas mask is an easy accessory.

There is a bell curve of human expectations for government. One wing has people who strongly believe in government (laws and regulations) to provide security in every aspect of life. The opposing wing are the rugged individualists who ask nothing except to be left alone (to thrive in self-defined nature).

Neither philosophy works alone. People rate family and self-reliance higher than government, but stuff happens and we all, at least occasionally, need each other and infrastructure.

Measurably, no traffic sign stops a car, steers, slows or accelerates the vehicle. Using a tool, it is not the rules, regulations or exterior signals that manage the tool. It is the human who acts.

In a government-envisioned world, commandments, laws, rules and expectations guide us that schools are violence free, essentially gun free, even weapons free, indeed bully free, and happy places. That utopian safety never has existed. There are always bullies and they always seek and use unfair advantage unless firmly confronted. They care about subjugating you and yours. They are irrational.

Humans are predatory omnivores, with social rules. By definition, a maniac follows no law, rule or commandment and arguably hates blindly. One more law (addressing such maniacs) is wistfully independent of reality. Protecting ourselves, independent of the government, is wisdom.

Intervention against temporary human insanity begins with restrictions on internet, computer, phone and self-medication.

Many adolescents cannot separate reality from social media. These youths are of sufficient number to represent a need for red-flag action, both parental and legislative. With time and intervention (as necessary), most persons grow out of their bully phase and are productive.

As for the few, we have prisons for bad actors.

Walt Wegener is a retired superintendent of schools in Washington and Oregon. He taught calculus, physics and other science and math, and he held administrative positions in Granger, Castle Rock, Toppenish and Friday Harbor.