School Knife Attacks – Why Focusing Pervasively on Active Shooter Incidents can be Dangerous

National media are reporting that as many as twenty students have been stabbed at Franklin Regional High School near Pittsburgh this morning.  Mass casualty attacks with edged weapons at K12 schools have taken place before in the United States and particularly in Asia.  As we have described in previous blogs, hundreds of students and school staff have been killed and injured in edged weapons attacks in schools in the Peoples of China in recent years. 

These types of attack have been so prevalent globally that we discuss them several times in our new book Staying Alive – How to Act Fast and Survive Deadly Encounters.  We have been deeply concerned for some time now that the pervasive focus on active shooter incidents may leave schools vulnerable to alternative mass casualty attack approaches like today’s attack.

As we have pointed out before, the problem of mass casualty edged weapons assaults is exacerbated by the intensive focus on active shooter incidents which can leave school staff and students ill prepared for an array of other types of attack methodologies.  As fire, edged weapons, explosives, and other types of weapons have often been used for mass casualty school attacks, it is important that prevention, preparedness and response measures be broad enough to address any type of attack that occurs.

About Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn serves as the Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s campus safety work has taken him to 11 countries over the past 34 years.