EDITORIAL: Student safety

School staff receive training about violence, emergencies

School faculty and other staff have always done much more than simply impart information to students. Perhaps it’s a sign of our increasingly violent times, however, that teachers, administrators and other educators now are expected to deal with violence and student injuries.

Reacting to numerous mass shootings at schools and other sites across the country, the Texas Education Agency has developed training for school personnel to address such events, and the possible aftermath, at their campuses.

Texas Region One Educational Service Center, which stretches from the Rio Grande Valley to Laredo, conducted active shooter training Dec. 6 in which local law enforcement officers addressed emergency situations and how to deal with people who are armed and violent or threatening violence. Educators, administrators and even assistant superintendents from throughout the region attended the training and likely will pass the information to others at their respective schools.

In addition, the center has held two “Stop the Bleed” training sessions this semester, and will conduct more in the future, to train school staff in how to be first responders.

Jay Aguayo, health and safety specialist for Region One, coordinated the efforts, and noted that the Texas Legislature mandated Stop the Bleed training during this year’s legislative session.

Stop the Bleed is a national campaign that began after the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary

School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people.

Local trauma surgeon Lenworth M. Jacobs Jr., reviewed autopsy records and found that most of the victims died not from tissue damage but from blood loss. Jacobs is a regent with the American College of Surgeons, and the group established a goal to offer training for “immediate responders,” such as bystanders, in ways to minimize blood loss in injury victims until medical professionals arrive.

House Bill 496, authored by Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, D-San Antonio, requires that bleeding control kits be placed in all public schools and that personnel be trained in how to use them. Aguayo said no position is specified; trained staff should include anyone who is most likely to be close to an injured person, such as a teacher, coach or administrator, and people at all levels are receiving the training, and those who do receive certification to utilize the bleed kits.

The training is prompted by violent events, they is also could be useful in the event of accidents, sports injuries or other emergencies.

Aguayo said student safety and security are the center’s priority, as they should be. School districts and campuses must take whatever security measures they can to help prevent violent attacks on campus. But in the unlikely event of such an attack, properly trained staff can increase victims’ chances of survival by simply stopping, or at least reducing, the bleeding.

It’s unfortunate that such measures are now considered necessary, but we’re glad those steps are being taken.