Security Adviser Tells LCHS Students to Run, Hide From Active Shooter

Photo by Wes Woods II / OUTLOOK
Peter Crabbe, representing the security training and consulting services company Chameleon Associates, moderated a student security briefing for 8th-graders on Feb. 20 at the La Cañada High School auditorium.

About 95% of active-shooter events last a total of five minutes or less, including the Saugus High School shooting last November in Santa Clarita, a senior consultant and trainer of security training and consultant services company Chameleon Associates told La Cañada High School students recently. Peter Crabbe, representing the Woodland Hills-based company, explained to a group of about 300 8th-graders at the LCHS auditorium this week what steps they could take in such a short time frame if an active-shooter event happens.
“The Saugus event was 16 seconds — very, very, very fast.” “So your goal has to be to create time and distance between you and the shooter. The more you can do that, the safer you’re going to be.”
Crabbe’s presentation was just one of several he held at LCHS recently. He also spoke with 7th-graders and other LCHS grades.
Last Thursday, Crabbe described to students his definition of creating time and distance in an active-shooter situation.
“Nobody has ever been shot or killed running off campus,” Crabbe said. “Nobody has ever been shot or killed behind a locked door. It’s the stragglers. Don’t be that person who just drops and cries. Or doesn’t cry and just drops. Create time and distance. The other caveat is if you see the gun, the gun can see you. So you might not want to run across the football field if the gun is someplace you can see it. So take yourself out of the line of fire.”
Following the presentation, LCHS 7/8 Principal Jarrett Gold and Crabbe said they noticed a difference this year in how students listened to the program, adding that they were very alert.
“Just like Peter said, I think being closer to the community of Saugus, I think the kids were much more attentive this year, just from understanding that it’s a reality in this area and in this world,” Gold said.
Crabbe agreed that the students seemed very attentive this year.
“I think the Saugus attack made them all feel like this happened pretty close to home,” Crabbe said. “So [their attitude was] ‘We’d better listen.’”
Crabbe’s presentation included slides, photos and information about school shootings, including cases of students successfully stopping shooting attempts. Topics such as “The Value of Being Friendly” and “How Are Concerning Behaviors Observed?” were also broached.
“One of the things we want to do is, we want to empower you,” Crabbe said. “We want to give you awareness. We don’t want anybody here to bury their head in the sand and just avoid things. We also don’t want you to be panicked. We want to give you the facts, the common sense and the logic to help you feel empowered at school.”
Among the practical insights Crabbe gave was that of monitoring fellow students. Crabbe said Nikolas Cruz, who is charged with 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the Feb. 18, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, left behind a trail of warnings on social media.
“Six months prior to the attack he tweets, ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” Crabbe said. “It was pretty clear that kid needed to be put on the radar. Somebody needed to go find him, get him help and watch him. In particular, you guys, because your communication can be very secret from adults, from faculty, because you’ve got your cellphones and you’re all talking to each other. The online post is a way that a shooter can communicate. Over 90% — over nine out of 10 — school shooters will have some form of online data leakage prior to the attack. So that [you all can do] social media monitoring.”
Ultimately, Crabbe said he wants students to remember two things in an active-shooter incident: to create time and distance, and avoid the gun. He noted that many of the schools he visits as a security adviser have long sheets of protocol for what to do during an active-shooter situation. Instead, he said, he tries to get them to prioritize the behavior.
“If you hear Pop! Pop! Pop! You’re not going to go, ‘Where are the pink laminated sheets that tell me what I’m supposed to do?’ But you will remember these [simple] things: Time and distance, and avoid the gun.”
Separately, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said LCUSD has a 10-month safety and security consultancy contract with Chameleon Associates for $1,800 per month.
On Tuesday, the district also had a shelter-in-place drill designed to test a new emergency communication system and build teachers’ familiarity with the system, Sinnette said.
She said the drill was successful and instruction was “minimally impacted.”

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