The Marysville-Pilchuck High School Shooting is the fourth K-12 Active Shooter Incident since Sandy Hook, according the the current FBI definition of an Active Shooter Incident.
As with any such incident, the information that has come out has shifted. As of the time of this posting there are two dead, including the shooter, and four wounded, three of them critically.
A lone gunman entered the cafeteria and targeted a group of students. After shooting his targets, he reportedly shot himself in the head. Local news coverage showed a student describing what she went through on the other side of the school. She stated that the fire alarm went off, and that the students evacuated, but were then told they were in lockdown. They had to return to the school.
Marysville-Pilchuck High School is a large school of over 2,000 students. This story exemplifies the chaos that often accompanies these terrible incidents. Prior planning can help schools deal with chaos, and maintain a higher state of order that can help save lives.
Of interest is the location of the shooting. A school cafeteria is an open, unsecured area that requires special considerations when planning to respond to events like this. Safe Havens International teaches a protocol called Room Clear that would have been very useful in this situation.
Room Clear involves students quickly and safely exiting a room or area to a pre-arranged place of safety. In classrooms, it is very useful for removing students from the source of violent or emotional outbursts. In this type of situation, Room Clear could be used to get students from the cafeteria to an area of safety.
The use of this protocol, like others, requires planning and practice. It also requires the understanding that various situations for which Room Clear can be used may happen. This requires that planning occur now, that practice using it occur now. Room Clear will not prevent an Active Shooter Incident, or any other incident. What it can do is remove students from a source of danger, and get them to a place of safety.