In yet another edged weapons incident in the People’s Republic of China, 27-year-old Wang Zhichu has been accused of climbing over a security fence and attacking a 9-year-old third grader before stabbing the school’s principal to death when he attempted to stop the attack. According to police, Zhichu, used a pair of scissors in the attack. Police say the 9-year-old victim was stabbed deeply in the head and may not survive.
This tragic incident is one of a string of attacks demonstrating the danger of school officials attempting to attack an active shooter or other armed aggressor. A number of school officials have been shot, stabbed and taken hostage trying to disarm aggressors over the years. Our research paper on this topic Fight, Flight or Lockdown can be downloaded on our resources page at no cost.
As we have mentioned many times in previous blogs and articles, our school security experts recommend that all types of hazards be addressed when conducting school security assessments. Our school security experts have assisted in conducting security assessments for more than 2,000 public, private, parochial, charter, and independent schools in the past four years alone and are currently conducting school security assessments for hundreds of public and non-public schools across the nation. The unique perspective our team of school security experts has gained working in more than 20 countries has also impressed upon our analysts the need to be comprehensive when addressing school security.
Though school shootings due occur in the People’s Republic of China, they are rare. Possession of firearms or ammunition is punishable by death in China and the government has placed restrictions on the purchase of and requires registration of large knives. Three mass casualty edged weapons attacks at Chinese schools in recent years have resulted in more than 20 casualties each. Aggressors have also resorted to other means to carry out mass casualty attacks including one incident where an individual entered a school and murdered young children by throwing them out of a window.
Our school security experts have been researching these attacks for many years and have identified a series of tragic incidents as well as a number of incidents in the United States involving explosives, fire, knives and other weapons demonstrates the ability of some aggressors to employ other types of weapons to inflict mass casualty losses at schools if they are unable to acquire a firearm. Prevention measures, school crisis plans, training and drills should incorporate alternative weapons assaults including edged weapons, impact devices, fire, explosives, poisons, chemicals and other alternative weapons which have been used since for school attacks as far back as the 1700’s.
Prevention and preparedness measures should also take into account the possibility that aggressors may simply shift the point of attack to circumvent effective school security measures. For example, an aggressor may simply attack children at a school bus stop, school bus drop off site, the grounds of a school, football game, graduation ceremony or other activity where large numbers of students, staff and visitors assemble. As multiple victim shootings, edged weapons attacks and other weapons assaults have been carried out in this manner, it is prudent for school and public safety officials to consider this possibility. School security assessments can help to identify these potential attack methodologies and practical strategies to address them.