School Shooting Survival Tips: What to teach your children?

Reshmita Das | September 29, 2022

School shooting survival tips

Anxiety over school shootings has become a common fear in America. The U.S. has had 2,032 school shootings since 1970 and these numbers are increasing. If you have school-aged children, chances are they are already aware of the school shooting incidents that happen across the US. And it's a hot topic for discussion among their classmates. Let’s take a look at some ways as a parent how you can prepare your children during such an emergency.

Start the conversation

It will always be uneasy to start a discussion about school shootings with your child. But, not talking about it can lead to feelings of fear and confusion while also opening the door to misinformation. Talk with children regularly about school, safety risks, community safety, and related concerns.

Affirm their feelings

Many children will be worried and anxious about returning to school after hearing about a mass shooting. It’s helpful to validate and normalize these fears and concerns your children may have. Help them identify their emotions and make them understand that their natural reactions are normal.

Encourage them to speak out

In most school shooting incidents, the shooter might have already shared his thoughts and intent before it happened. If your child hears or sees something suspicious or unusual on social media or through friends, ask them to reach out to an appropriate adult and share it. 

Take the safety measures seriously

Schools may have active shooter drills or other similar procedures in an effort to teach kids how to respond should an emergency arise. Assure children that they are not powerless in a situation like that and there are things they can do to stay safe. There's no harm in staying alert and prepared. In the face of an active shooting situation: Run, Hide, and Fight.

How to survive a school shooting


"Run, which means evacuate should be the first response if there is considerable distance between you and the gunfire/armed person. Even for an experienced shooter shooting a moving target is difficult.

  • If you are running through an open area, run in a zig-zag pattern away from the shooter until you can get far enough away.

  • Leave your belongings behind.

  • Take others with you, but do not stay behind because others won't leave.

  • Do not move wounded people.

  • Call 911 when you feel safe to do so.


"Hide" means find shelter. When running isn’t an option because the shooter is blocking the exit the next best option is to hide. Be out of the shooter’s view and behind something concrete that will stop bullets. 

  • Try to hide behind something solid. Desks, glass doors, windows, or weak structures will not provide safety from bullets.

  • If possible go into a room and lock the door and block it with items of furniture. Keep your options open for movement.

  • Silence your phone, turn off even the vibrate mode!

  • Be as quiet as possible and turn off the lights.


In the worst-case scenario when you see there is no way out if you have to fight, fight to save your life. High or middle schoolers can fight or tackle a shooter preferably as a group. 

  • Act with physical aggression toward the shooter. 

  • Try to take down the weapon first and then control the shooter. 

  • Use items around you such as fire extinguishers or chairs to attack.

  • Throw stuff at the shooter.

  • And finally, work as a team against the shooter.

Listen to teachers

Remind your children that teachers – are working every day to keep them safe at school. Teach them to follow instructions of theirs when they are in a crisis, especially something dangerous like a shooting.

Bottom Line: Be calm

Crying or having a panic attack is very common. That'll only make the situation worse for your child and others. Teach them how to respond to stressful situations and be good decision-makers.

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