INDIANA, Pa. (KDKA) — A seminar that had been in the works for more than a year aimed to educate people on how to make schools and places of work less prone to violence.
Nearly 700 police officers, emergency responders and educators gathered at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex learn from recent tragedies at Chardon High School, Western Psych and others.
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of human aggression and violent crime, says the problem is denial of a threat particularly in schools.
“The point that we can really make it come home with is fire safety versus school safety,” he said. “How many kids killed by school fire in all of North America in the last 50 years? Zero. How kids killed by school violence? Hundreds.”
Grossman encouraged the group, which traveled from across the state to attend, that simple things like locking exterior doors as well as individual classrooms and offices and having lockdown drills can make a big difference in an emergency situation.
“The single greatest investment that we can make is [to] have somebody on site that can shoot back,” Grossman said.
He also stressed the importance of working together and hopes his seminar will get that process started in western Pennsylvania.
“It’s trying to convince those people in positions of authority that we have to prepare for these things,” Danny Sacco, director of safety for Indiana Regional Medical Center, said.
While the seminar was timely, organizers say it’s meant to be proactive rather than reactive. They are hoping attendees will leave with a new understanding of how to make their school or workplace safe.