The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA had interjected themselves, and appropriately so, into the area of school safety. This article explores the premise behind the cooperation between DHS, FEMA and your child’s public school. Most of the policies and procedures make a great deal of sense and should be followed as a matter of course. However there are some very concerning elements which have surfaced with regard to school safety procedures, your rights as a parent and the safety of your child.
The Prime Directive of School Safety
The first mandate for teachers and administrators in the public school setting is to keep students safe. This prime directive supersedes any other mission requirements related to the functioning of a public school. Teachers and administrators as well as support personnel have a moral, professional and legal obligation to tend to children who are in physical and/or emotional distress. The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA have prepared disaster related documents detailing the professional responsibilities for school personnel in disaster related scenarios. Increasingly, these programs are taking on a police state mentality and parental authority be damned.
Operation Mountain Guardian
Whether you know it or not, your child is being subjected to an endless stream of “terror drills”. The granddaddy of these drills occurred a little over 3 years ago, on September 23, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA conducted a disaster drill in Denver, Colorado that they called Operation Mountain Guardian. The plan was all-inclusive and basically shut down the Denver metropolitan area including Denver international Airport, many malls, many schools and several other public venues including Sports Authority Field where the Denver Broncos play professional football.
As a part of the drill, several busloads of school children were taken to Sports Authority Field along with their teachers. Surrogate parents were hired by FEMA to attempt to pick up their children at the stadium. The training was apparently a desensitization exercise for security personnel designed to refuse demands to pick up their children from these “pretend” parents. The real parents of these children were not properly notified that their children would be transported to the stadium and would be a part of this disaster drill. As a parent, I would have a major problem with the non-notification of the relocation of children.I find this ironic, because before a school child is allowed to go on a field trip, their parents and teachers are required to fill out a multiple list of permission forms that must be signed by parent or guardian of the child.
As a parent, I have a major issue when government officials refused to release children to their parents because the authority over a child belongs to the parent, not to a government agency.
In the latter part of the event, as parents discovered that some of their children were likely transported to the stadium, some parents attempted to go to the venue and secure their children. When they did so, at least initially, the children were not released to the parents. Again, who is the sovereign, the government or the people?
And speaking of Denver International Airport, explain the meaning of this depiction which was displayed for years near airport baggage. Where are the children being led by this apparent Russian soldier carrying an AK-47 and wearing a gas mask?
If the Operation Mountain Guardian drill was an isolated incident, perhaps the sounding of the alarm bells would be a gross over exaggeration. Unfortunately, this is not the case, these kinds of drills are popping up all around the country and the overtones which accompany these drills are very disturbing.
“Investigators described them as members of a right-wing fundamentalist group called the ‘New Crusaders’ who don’t believe in separation of church and state. The mock gunmen went to the school seeking justice because the daughter of one had been expelled for praying before class.”
From Winter Haven, Fla. (CBS TAMPA): “Students, teachers and parents were taken by surpriseafter an “active shooter drill” brought the Winter Haven middle school into lockdown as armed police officers burst into classrooms with their weapons drawn. Students at Jewett Middle Academy said they were terrified when police officers burst in the doors for a planned active shooter drill – but students and teachers are irked they were not told ahead of time…Parents were notified of the drill through email after it was over, but many parents, however,received panicked texts from their children as the drill was going on“.
At a school in Muskegon County, Michigan, students and teachers were told that “homeschoolers” were the ones attacking the students in the school in the latest of your tax dollars at work in the public schools. Observing and evaluating during the exercise were various police officials, school administrators and officials from the state and the county Office of Emergency Management.
“The exercise will simulate an attack by a fictitious radical group called “Wackos Against Schools and Education” who believe everyone should be homeschooled. Under the scenario, a bomb is placed on the bus and is detonated while the bus is traveling on Durham, causing the bus to land on its side and fill with smoke.”
Are these drills really necessary? When one examines the statistics connected to deaths by terrorism and then compare the rate to death by mundane causes, the ridiculousness of these incessant drills becomes readily apparent.
DHS Is Propagandizing Your Child
Every month, every school performs terror drills at the school under the headings of saving children from the “bad guys.”
Our children are being forced to participate in a steady stream of “relocation drills”, “lockdown drills” and “active shooter drills”. This leads to an acceptance of a national police state which is ostensibly designed to protect us from the infinitesimal odds of being killed by a terrorist. Schools cannot afford staplers and pencils but why can they afford to invest in these activities at the further expense of time on task in the classroom?
Are these drills necessary? It would certainly make sense to have a plan and to occasionally practice that plan? But should we practice this plan every month? Has life in America become equivalent to the Gaza Strip where a terrorist, seeking to murder thousands of children, is lurking behind every corner? Your odds of being killed by a terrorist both in the United States and abroad is estimated at one in 20 million!
The National Safety Council reports that more than 6,000 Americans die a year from falls. Most of these deaths involve people falling off their roof or ladder trying to put up Christmas lights and other similar activities. Are schools teaching your children how to put up Christmas lights? You are 353 times more likely to fall to your death putting up Christmas lights than dying in a terrorist attack.
Statistics place the odds of drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.
DHS, FEMA and the Safety of Students
FEMA has published a training manual which serves as the rough draft model for school safety to be enacted by all 50 versions of the State Department of Education, in times of an emergency. Of particular importance and relevance is a document from the Arizona Department of Education entitled “Staff Skills Survey and Inventory“, which is located on page 76 of their school safety manual.
Some of the skills listed in the inventory make good sense (e.g. EMT, CPR skills, etc). However, there are some skills being surveyed which are concerning because the skills suggest an air of permanence to the use of a school as a permanent site for housing children (see below).
1. Mechanical Ability (electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc.)
2. Waste Disposal
Some have suggested the schools of the future may look more like…
In Operation Mountain Guardian the precedent was set that you, as a parent, do not have the right to secure your child in times of a perceived emergency. In other words, the state owns your child. Increasingly, we see this ultra “It takes a village to raise a child” approach in many of our institutions (e.g. CPS) to the exclusion parental rights and constitutional authority. And let’s not forget that Christians are increasingly being portrayed as the terrorists that everyone needs to be concerned about.
This philosophy is not being practiced in EVERY school district, but it is present in most as we continue to buy into the myth that “they are coming to get us”, “the attack could be tomorrow” and “we could all die”. All of these thinly veiled excuses serve to propagandize the supremacy of the state over parental authority and the ultimate acceptance of living in a police state based upon a manufactured threat with a very low probability of transpiring.
Dave Hodges is the Editor and Host of The Common Sense Show.