SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 50
Terrorism and Anniversaries
(911 & Others)
There are two very important reasons that those concerned with the well being of children and youth should take note of the anniversary of the attack on America September 11, 2001. This particular anniversary is used because of its notoriety and on-going efforts to explain it. In broader terms, the anniversary of any act of terrorism should be noted. April is another important month that many domestic and international terrorism has taken place.
The first aspect has to do with the reaction of the kids and those who represent their authority figures. Many were traumatized by watching live coverage of these event. There was even live coverage in our classrooms as the 911 buildings collapsed and crushed thousands. Students were allowed to watch this event desperate people jump to their death rather than be burned. The media kept this event alive with daily coverage of some aspect of it for a full year. As with any such event, some have been affected far deeper than others. There is some debate as to the presence of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in non-related individuals. Regardless of the clinical diagnosis, the 911 event was a very traumatic event for millions and the observance of its anniversary will likely cause some degree of stress reaction in many. Anniversaries are known to trigger emotions. Teachers and counselors should be more observant of their students as 9/11 or other traumatic events approaches (see handouts of signs available below). However, they should also be careful not to trigger emotional responses by signaling that they expect some students to experience problems. There has been much public debate about what type of observances are appropriate for traumatic events.
Everything from parades to candle-light vigils have been proposed. Schools are cautioned to keep any observance of a traumatic event to a minimum. A moment of silence and then a return to the normal routine may be the best choice. The intent of terrorism is to disrupt daily life. The best way to defeat terrorists is to maintain our daily activities. One impacted by a Terrorism even was Lisa Beamer, wife of one of the brave men Todd Beamer on United Flight 93 said she has no plans … Sept. 11, the second day of preschool for (son) David. “I know it’s significant to others, but for me, every day is an anniversary.”
|The bombing in Oklahoma City and the school shooting in Littleton, Colorado are well known examples of anniversary attacks.|
The second reason to note this and other key terrorism anniversaries is the tendency for terrorists to celebrate these events by staging others. The bombing in Oklahoma City and the school shooting in Littleton, Colorado are well known examples of anniversary attacks. There are a variety of calendars that list important anniversary dates. As we get closer to the approaches of 9/11 or any of these other infamous dates, schools should take extra precautions to assess their threat of terrorist – domestic or international. An unfortunate choice of phrasing has linked war and terrorism. Terrorism has very little to do with warfare. War has a general goal of eliminating an enemies will to resist and the attainment of a geographical or political position. Terrorism is almost always born out of hate with a goal of inflicting pain and chaos on the generalized target of that hatred. There may be stated political or religious goals to the terrorists acts, but this is usually for public consumption to advance recruiting and an attempt to legitimize their actions. The bottom line is always pain and chaos to people who have no direct involvement with the “cause” espoused by the terrorists.
Symbolism is very important to terrorists. The World Trade Center and the Pentagon were symbols of America. The people who died there were not connected with any acts against the extremists who launched the attacks. Dates and anniversaries are also symbols. Launching an attack, even one much reduced in scope, will keep the original attack alive in minds and hearts of those involved on both sides. Schools are symbols of America. With our education laws, every young person in America under the age of 18 must be in a school every weekday. At the entrance to every school is our national symbol, the flag. These things make schools an excellent target (as demonstrated in Beslan Russia School Massacre and a school in Israel) for those who wish to strike terror into the hearts of the most people with the least effort.
Schools should not become fortresses, with fences and watchtowers, but must become more diligent in assuring the safety and security our most precious resource (see handouts of signs available below). Multi-Hazard Emergency Response & Crisis Management Process & Plans should emphasize prevention with controlled access, surveillance cameras and policies that address assessing dangers internally and externally. Schools can no longer rely on the luck of yesterday or the former isolation from the rest of the world that America has enjoyed. This article is not intended to alarm but to raise the level of awareness to the point of action. If your unsure of where you organziation stands in being prepared for the threat of today, contact Keys To Safer Schools.com to discuss your situation
Once again we ask ourselves, “Have we done all that we can to insure the safety of our schools?” Keys To Safer Schools.com is making a special offer to any organization to review your Multi-Hazard Emergency Response & Crisis Management Process & Plans and provide a written critique of any shortcomings found. To take advantage of this offer, mail your Organization’s Multi-Hazard Emergency Response & Crisis Management Plans and supporting documents to:
Keys To Safer Schools.com
P.O. Box 296
Bryant, AR 72089-0296.
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