There is a growing belief in law enforcement circles — supported by common sense — that students and teachers should be prepared to do more than alert police and hide in the unlikely event of a school shooting. Fleeing, barricading doors, and even throwing objects at an attacker may increase chances of survival, depending on the situation. Some local school systems, including Canton, are already opting for programs that teach such techniques.
But part of that education should stress the rarity of such incidents. Violent deaths at schools account for less than 1 percent of the homicides and suicides among children ages 5 to 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Any effort to instruct students on survival strategies should be presented in a wider context of how to respond to dangers in malls, public transit, theaters, or other potential danger zones.