How to ‘L.I.V.E.’ through a school shooting

Retired counter-terrorism agent has a plan schools should follow in an emergency.
Retired counter-terrorism agent has a plan schools should follow in an emergency
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 10:48 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - School-aged kids probably know the drill if there’s an active shooter: get in the corner and be quiet, while the teacher locks the door and turns the lights off.

A retired East Tennessee counter-terrorism expert does not think that’s the best strategy, and is training schools and students on what to do instead.

“How weak are our schools? Just straightforward because people can know. They’re not prepared whatsoever,” Matt Estridge said, a retired counter-terrorism agent and creator of the L.I.V.E. program.

L.I.V.E. is an acronym for Lock, Instruct, Vantage point, and Engage. It’s meant to teach kids and teachers exactly what to do, in life-threatening situations.

“What do you do coming out of a bathroom,” Estridge asked. “What do you do escaping down the hallway? Somebody pulls the fire alarm and it’s a rooz, how do you see danger before you enter it?”

Estridge can’t go into exact specifics for safety reasons, but the idea is to give everyone in the room a specific plan, to give them the best chance to live.

Police in Nashville said only 14 minutes elapsed between the first shots being fired inside the Covenant School on Monday, and police finding and killing the shooter.

Estridge said police did a terrific job. But, his plan is geared towards helping the students and teachers survive those 14 minutes. He said there’s a plan for every kind of class too, like elementary school classes and special needs classes.

“The great thing about special needs classes is, and this is a great thing, is the student to teacher ratio is high. So, we have more teachers in that room,” Estridge said.

Estridge said school resource officers are a good thing, but they’re rarely able to stop a school shooting from happening. He said an SRO has stopped a school shooting one time in the history of the United States.

And he doesn’t believe teachers should be armed with guns either. He points to a study the New York Police Department did, which found that officers have a 40% accuracy rate in life-threatening situations. He said it would likely be much lower for a teacher, and lower accuracy means a higher chance of hitting a student. Estridge also points out that using a handgun can be hard to use, and must be stored properly.

Estridge ultimately wants to implement the program into every public school in the state. For that to happen, he’s asking the state for a one-time $10 million grant. The state hasn’t passed it the last few years, but he’s hoping that will change this year.

Some schools have already bought in, like the University of Tennessee, Tennessee Wesleyan, and First Baptist Academy in Powell.

Estridge said a handful of local businesses, as well as some vet centers and doctor’s offices opted in as well.