BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - “What we find in almost all of these cases is that we ignore the threats and then something bad happens," said Randolph Alles, U.S. Secret Service director.
The national director of the Secret Service is offering some advice to school leaders and law enforcement from across Louisiana. They’re trying to keep kids safe from a mass shooter. The director says Louisiana schools can protect kids with the same strategies the Secret Service uses to protect the president.
“It’s a question of when some kind of incident will happen here with our children,” said Col. Kevin Reeves with Louisiana State Police.
Reeves says unless something changes, it’s only a matter of time before Louisiana has a mass shooting at a school.
“When I went to school, it was a haven. It was a safe place. We didn’t have security guards, gates, fences, we didn’t even lock the doors. You know what? Nothing happened,” said Congressman Garret Graves.
That’s the complaint from so many people who are exhausted with terrifying school shootings. But on Friday, Mar. 15, the U.S. Secret Service offered specialized training to teachers and officers from across the state at Baton Rouge Community College.
“So when you think about agents with guns, armored cars, swat teams, and all that, yes, the SS has all that and more, but that’s not the model I want to be in," Alles said.
Alles goes on to say schools need to outsmart potential criminals, which means taking every threat seriously. The Secret Service spent the day teaching the teachers how to do that, using some of the same models used to identify potential threats to the president, although, there’s one component to prevention that’s unique to the kids.
“On every single list from every single expert we’ve met with, they’ve said, ‘Make these children grow up in an environment where they’re unconditionally loved,'” Graves said.
The Secret Service says each school should build and train teams to look for warning signs, especially in districts that can’t afford a counselor with a background in psychology. The end goal, they say, is to prevent a tragedy and keep kids safe in the classroom.