Liberty Implements Run, Hide, Fight

Grant Rayfield, Online Editor

Last Thursday, Liberty held a lockdown and showed a video about safety procedures in order to introduce students to the policies.

The Issaquah School District decided to implement a new school safety program called “Run, Hide, Fight” last summer, as a potential alternative to lockdowns or shelter-in-places (less extreme lockdowns that simply require all students to stay in classrooms) for lunch periods or after school. With the recent shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, the implementation of this procedure could not be better timed.

“Locking down when people are at lunch, an assembly, a passing period, or after school is pointless – it only puts people in more danger,” Principal Josh Almy said.

The Run, Hide, Fight program was developed by the Department of Homeland Security several years ago to teach police officers how to respond to shooting situations, but the version to be implemented at Liberty places less stress on the fight aspect, and more on the run and hide aspects.

“With the adults, the fight piece is more of an important component, while the run and hide aspects are more relevant to students,” Almy said.

Run, Hide, Fight stresses that rather than simply hiding in a room and turning off the lights, students should weigh other potential options, such as running out of the building or even preparing to fight if necessary for personal safety.

“If you can get out and away from any potential threat, do get out. Encourage others to leave with you, and be sure to get yourself out of harm’s way,” Assistant Principal Sean Martin said.

Since the program is meant to show students that they have more options than the simple lockdown, it does not tell students to barricade themselves in rooms under all circumstances, and instead recommends running off campus if possible, and fighting in self-defense when necessary. Students will still be led by teachers off campus or in hiding when possible, but this new program also recommends that student action be self-preserving rather than strictly protocol-following.

The administration at Liberty wants to stress the fact that this new procedure is not the central component of Liberty’s plan to respond to the tragedy at Marysville-Pilchuck. Rather, it is to make the community a more welcoming place.

“In my opinion, an even more important piece [than the Run, Hide, Fight program] is figuring out how to accept, welcome, and be aware of people who may need more support than others,” Almy said.