New York Schools Benefit From Sociology Alumna’s Safety Guidance

Locks, lights and out-of-sight.

This is the protocol used by national mass shooting expert and UCF double graduate, Jaclyn Schildkraut, B.A.’09, M.S.’11, when teaching today’s youth how to react during school shootings.

Jaclyn Schildkraut

Schildkraut currently works with 30 schools in the Syracuse City School District on research-backed active-shooter and lockdown protocol.  By combining a passion for developing training curriculum with knowledge absorbed studying sociology, Schildkraut is creating a safer learning space for the next generation of schoolchildren.

“There is work to be done when it comes to research in school security,” said Schildkraut. “My job is to fill in the research gaps and implement what’s learned in the least traumatizing but most effective way to teachers and students.

Current protocol follows the directives of “locks, light, out of sight”: in other words, locking the door, shutting lights off and remaining out of sight and quiet.

“Drills are a method of practice,” said Schildkraut. “By practicing, you’re building that necessary muscle memory.”

The current protocol methodology was developed in collaboration with the “I Love U Guys” Foundation, started by John-Michael and Ellen Keyes after their daughter Emily was killed in a school shooting.

“The protocol created by the Foundation is already well developed,” said Schildkraut. “After meeting them at a conference and hearing their story, we felt mutually passionate about working together to keep students safe. I worked with what they’ve already created and found ways to implement into the Syracuse school system.”

Schildkraut’s protocol largely emphasizes the concept of muscle memory for students and faculty that may find themselves involved in a case of active shooting.

“If we teach people what to do, literally, with their bodies during a high-stress situation, we find that in the face of actual catastrophe people will follow the protocol because of the associated muscle memory that kicks in when adrenaline spikes,” said Schildkraut.

Schildkraut notes that many schools are uneager to participate in perfecting their protocol due to how disruptive active shooting drills can be to the schedule of teachers and the mental health of students.

“There have been cases where schools will run drills and traumatize their kids—hearing screaming or seeing actors covered in blood can have an obviously triggering affect,” said Schildkraut. “Many schools are apprehensive about running drills because of how intense it can be, but methods proven effective don’t have to be this extreme or disruptive. There is a way to do this without scarring the student body.”

The forward-thinking Syracuse City School District has been a source of opportunity for Schildkraut to make a direct impact.

“I’m grateful to the Syracuse City School District for opening their doors and minds,” said Schildkraut. “I am honored to have the opportunity to keep their students safe when so many districts have been resistant to drills.”

Comments are closed.