Article author: Miky Weinberg – Owner of the Tarantula Technologies Ltd and Octagon Security Ltd Companies.
I am sure that the massacre carried out in an elementary school in the town of ּUvalde in Texas in which 19 students and two teachers were killed in cold blood, deprives sleep in those in charge of security in the Israeli Ministry of Education who have no doubt already sat down to check whether or not what needs to be done to do so. There is no doubt that this is an extreme threat with an increasing probability of realization and has the highest level of damage severity when it comes to risk management.
The shocking massacres that occur again and again in the United States can help in a better understanding of the threat and its occurrence characteristics from the attacker’s perspective.
The 18-year-old killer who committed the massacre at the school moved into his grandmother’s home in the town of Uvalde last March. The killer had previously attended this elementary school and returned to it with the rifle he legally bought the day after his classmates graduated. Residents who knew him said he was teased because of his attire and because of his family’s difficult financial situation, and he was considered a failing and obscure student who eventually dropped out of school. The massacre began on Tuesday morning when the killer shot his grandmother in the face and seriously injured her, took her van, and drove to school, at 11:28 he left the van after getting off it while armed with a rifle and about 1000 rounds. He started moving on foot towards the school while shooting at civilians who were on his way (some wanted to help him because they thought he had been in a car accident), at 11:40 he entered the school without interruption, broke into one of the classrooms where innocent teachers and students were at the time, and simply started shooting them mercilessly and emotionlessly. The local police announced that the killer murdered the students and teachers very shortly after he broke into the classroom.
Around 1 p.m., a police team managed to shoot the killer and neutralize him. During the time between 11:40 and 13:00, some of the students managed to hide from the killer’s eyes, some were injured by the shooting and did everything to make the killer think they were dead and some lay down on their wounded friends to try and save them from death. Children aged 8-10 found themselves at the scene of a brutal murder while seeing their friends killed and injured.
Texas police reported that the school has a security plan that some of its principles were not implemented at the time the killer committed the massacre – a back door remained open and a security guard was not on duty.
What is the agency that guides the Israeli Ministry of Education regarding the security of educational institutions in Israel?
The Security Division of the Israel Police is the agency that guides the Israeli Ministry of Education on how to maintain security in educational institutions in Israel (kindergartens, schools, high schools, and so on). The guidelines include the physical and technological means, the physical security, the security method, and the method of supervision and control required to check that the application in the field complies with the guidelines.
Can such a massacre take place in a school in Israel? (Combination of Ami Popper and the Merkaz HaRav massacre?)
The working assumption of the Ministry of Education should be that a massacre of this kind can be carried out in a school in Israel (it is possible that this working assumption already exists). The massacre in the United States, and especially the massacre in Texas, must serve as a very powerful warning alarm, one that cannot and must not be ignored. It must not be mistaken to think that such a massacre in Israel cannot take place here. In Israel, as in the United States, and regardless of the policy of selling weapons to civilians, a former and disgruntled student may decide to return to school to take revenge for the murder of teachers and students. It must not be assumed that an Israeli person will not reach such an extreme situation.
Where is the threat of massacre on the list of relevant threats to schools?
Risk management includes two parameters for measuring the level of frustration – the likelihood of the threat being realized and the level of damage if it occurred.
The level of damage in the massacre of young and innocent young children is clear and unequivocal – it is a disaster at a national level that will undoubtedly cause great shock and immediate and many changes.
The likelihood of realization is given to different interpretations – although it is a threat that is defined as extreme and such that many will think and say that “where we are at such a massacre will not happen”, its likelihood of implementation exceeds any other massacre in the United States. The position of the threat in the list of relevant threats affects the level of response that will be given to deal with it.
What is the damage in a school massacre?
Our children are the most precious thing that exists for us in this world and cannot be compared to anything else precious that we have already achieved or that we strive to achieve. When children, especially young children, are injured or, G-d forbid, murdered in cold blood in a massacre perpetrated by a cruel killer (such as a former student), time will be stopped first for the benefit of the families but later for a deep account of everything related to school security in Israel. There will no doubt be a shock at the governmental level, one that will come directly from all citizens of the State of Israel and especially from those who have children in the many schools spread from the Dan area to Eilat.
Financial businesses invest very high sums to secure the money with the help of advanced technological means and skilled personnel – children are much more “expensive” than money !!
Companies invest millions to secure the information they have – children are much more “expensive” than the information !!
Museums invest capital to secure works of art – children are much more “expensive” than works of art !!
What actions must be taken in the immediate term?
Note: Everything I write on the subject is solely in my opinion that of course you can agree or disagree and in addition some may already have been implemented in practice.
- Classification of schools: A school should be defined as a secure facility – a unique asset to be protected. Since there are many schools of different types, it is important to perform a professional analysis that will ultimately determine what the classification of each school is. The classification is defined based on several fixed parameters whose level varies according to the data and characteristics of each school individually.
- Security package for each classification: Pre-determine a security package according to the level of classification determined for each school. A basic security package should be established for all schools and an extended security package for those that will be highly classified. In a situation where there is a danger of harm to students, I think that an elementary school is more sensitive than a high school, mainly because of the level of ability to react against a single attacker.
- Basic package for each school: Formulation of a security plan, demarcation of the school compound with a strong iron fence in shape and height that will make it difficult for a person to pass, placing security signs on the perimeter fence, entrance complex with a gate that can be closed and manned by an armed security guard, at each of the school’s buildings the main entrance and standard emergency doors must be defined, a security trustee will be defined who will undergo professional training to fulfill the role, guidance and practice of the teaching staff and students in the various threat scenarios.
- Extended security package: the basic package + placement of a minimum of 2 security guards, the proactive armament of teachers, placement of security doors at the entrance to each classroom, placement of cameras including warning cameras, distress buttons, doors connecting classrooms to allow passage in case of emergency.
- Central dispatching center: Establishing a security center that will have the ability to view cameras and the ability to control, monitor, provide oversight and respond in an emergency.
- Cooperation with rescue forces: Defining security cooperation with the various rescue forces and performing joint periodic exercises to practice and improve the level of response in the event of an emergency.
As mentioned, the massacre in Texas must serve as a powerful and noisy warning alarm that cannot be ignored and we can’t go on as usual. Decision-makers in the field of school security in Israel must hurry and make decisions that will examine the working assumptions related to the list of threats and that will succeed in giving a quick and reliable picture of the level of security in the various schools in Israel. Everything must be done so that children and teachers will not be massacred in an Israeli school.
Remember, security must also be maintained in schools in Israel and it is nice to have it in advance !!!