Homeland Security implementing active shooter training for schools
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Department of Homeland Security will be implementing a Run, Hide, Fight – Active Shooter Protocol training within schools across the territory starting next week.
This was confirmed by DHS Director, Samana Semo Ve’ave’a in response to questions from Samoa News.
“The training was prompted after a recent incident where a student allegedly made threats on social media of possibly shooting up a high school campus last month.
“The Department of Education does not have a plan on how to deal with such situations and our department has to step in, to ensure that in any case of a classroom shooting, our children and teachers knows what to do.
“We pray this does not happen, but we must be proactive in how we deal with the changes,” said the director.
He told Samoa News they have been working on putting a plan together and will share with the public knowledge on the basics of what to do when under these circumstances.
The threats cited by the director were made by a high school student who posted a photo of his suspension slip, writing, “Kakou Kaalo la le oki.” (Let’s play with death) and a photo of a young man holding a rifle is also shown.
Samana told Samoa News during a phone interview, the photo of the student with the shotgun posted was “an old” photo.
The post prompted Tafuna High School to file an official complaint with the police.
In a post on their Facebook page, the school noted that safety is, and will always be their first priority.
According to the director, the “RUN, HIDE, or FIGHT” protocol should be implemented in all the schools, private and public from early childhood education, elementary, high school and college.
“In any case [where] we have an active shooter situation teachers know what to do to keep the students safe and far away from [the] situation.
He said that active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly and that normally the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.
“If you hear shots fired on campus or if you witness an armed person shooting or threatening people (active shooter), immediately choose the best way to protect your life.
“Very quickly, make your best determination of what is occurring and which of the options below will provide the greatest degree of security for you employing the “RUN, HIDE, or FIGHT” protocol.”
Last week, Deputy Director of Education, Faafetai Teofilo confirmed before the House of Representatives that DOE does not have a plan in place for handling situations such as the one that happened at Tafuna High School.
The student who made the post on Facebook had since been charged and given his age, this matter was called before the Family and Drug Court, which is not open to the media.