top of page
  • Writer's pictureRJ Boatman


As we reviewed the video footage from the Columbine HS shooting in 1999, we contemplated two questions: 1. What choices do the staff and students have when the shooting starts — those answers became the foundations of Run, Hide, Fight training; and 2. What technologies, resources, trainings, and supports would be most effective, reliable, and sustainable.

We had some of the brightest minds in those early discussions, and over the following years, including: HISD Superintendent and U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Rod Paige, TASA President Bob Brezina, NASSP President E. Don Brown, Center for School Governance Founder Dr. Richard Griffin, and TEA Commissioners Dr. Michael Moses, Dr. Shirley Neeley, and Dr. Robert Scott. I had just retired as Board Governor of the Harris County Organized Crime Unit, and as Chief of the S. Houston Police Department, and became the nation’s inaugural Director of Safe and Secure Schools.

As our work evolved from the humble beginnings of the Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Safe and Secure Schools, to the TSSC, TEA Persistently Dangerous Schools Project, and the ESC/TSSA, constituents (School Boards, PTA’s and other stakeholders) sought to soften the terminology from Run, Hide, Fight… to Avoid, Deny, Defend; but, the basic proposition was still the same. GET AWAY… GET OUT OF SIGHT… GET PHYSICAL.

As we approach the end of the 22/23 school year, are the data, analytics, and associated intelligence telling us that Run, Hide, Fight has Run its Course?

Hide: Instead of hiding and waiting for the shooter to potentially find you, newer guidance advises that you keep your distance from the shooter and create barriers. Rather than sitting tight in one spot, you would look for opportunities to covertly move further away from the shooter and closer to a safe zone.

Fight: The reality is, “fight” is not an option for most people. Young children should not be advised or expected to fight against an active shooter, and there are also many people who are simply not physically capable of fighting back against a violent attack.

Twenty-four years of safe schools experience, from Columbine to Uvalde, has shown that these “practices” (although identified as standard) have not proven to be “best”; and that we must use more data-driven analysis to promote further evolution of strategy, policy, and process.

For more information:


77 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page