When there’s a shooting at a school, there needs to be a quick police response. After all, whether it’s a mass shooting in the making or just one kid trying to kill another, it’s the kind of thing you don’t want to see allowed to continue without a response.
For there to be a timely response, you need to have a number of factors in place. One is a department ready to respond to such incidents, obviously.
You also apparently need to make sure they have the right school.
Richfield police and other first responders initially showed up to Richfield Middle School instead of South Education Center following the fatal shooting of a student, the middle school’s principal, Erica Barlow, said in a statement to community members.
“The officers had weapons drawn and in bullet-proof vests,” Barlow said. “It is unlikely that many students witnessed the event, as they were in class at the time. However, it is important that you are aware of the incident in the event that your child hears about it, as some children may be deeply impacted by this type of news.”
Police responded to Richfield Middle School after initial reports of the shooting, but they were ‘quickly corrected’ and sent to the South Education Center, Police Chief Jay Henthorne said.
The South Education Center is a school that serves students with “unique needs in a variety of programs.” It serves students across the west Twin Cities metro, from pre-k through high school and is in a separate district from Richfield Middle.
The victim of the shooting was identified to The Minneapolis Star Tribune as 15-year-old Jahmari Rice. The other victim — who is also a student — survived the shooting but is in critical condition at the Hennepin County Medical Center.
In fairness, the two schools are about two minutes from one another, so it’s not like the police responded by going to a school on the other side of town. They went to one about a block or so away.
Regardless, this isn’t a good look for the Richfield police.
Had this been an active shooter trying to slaughter as many people as possible, how many could have died in those two minutes?
And the delay was more than two minutes. That’s the trip from one school to another. There’s still the time spent setting up to deploy, going into the first school, learning that they were wrong, loading back up, and doing it all again at the right school.
Just bloody brilliant, as the British might say.
Luckily, this wasn’t an active shooter situation. It was still awful and I suspect that administrators will have to face some tough questions going forward, but at least it wasn’t another Parkland by any stretch.
Just remember this when someone tries to tell you teachers don’t need guns because the police will respond quickly to any problems. I mean, they’ll try, but if they show up to the wrong school, it might be a little while before you get the help you need. Considering the speed of a bullet, I wouldn’t feel great about my odds under the circumstances.
So yeah, teachers need guns because police make mistakes. It wasn’t a big deal this time, but what will it be the next time it happens? I ask because it will.