With the recent horrible school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that has left 17 people dead, the never-ending debate of gun control has once again surfaced. What particularly caught my attention was the comparisons to the Israeli gun mentality, and how schools handle security. With that said, many of these comparisons are simply unsound. Since I grew up in Israel, I hope in this article paints a clearer picture as to how we handle school safety — bear in mind that what works in the desert won’t work in the jungle. School activities naturally divide into two categories, the first is static, as of all activities are taking place within the school premise; the second is mobile, meaning activities such as trips or outdoor camps that take place outside of the school compound.

Static protection

The Israeli schools aren’t bunkers. Really, they aren’t. However, each one of these schools does has subsurface shelters. Not only this, but schools and kindergartens all over the country are regularly practicing the evacuation of students in different scenarios. This includes earthquakes, rocket attacks, unknown threats or even CBRN in some rare occasions. Keep in mind that these drills get students to take initiative, rather than just having them run to safety.

Currently, most Israeli school premises are completely fenced in and usually with only one gate. In the cases of bigger schools, there might be a few additional gates. In addition, there are two to three emergency gates which are locked (and look like normal fences) during regular, non-emergency hours. To prevent any VBIEDs, school parking lots are often (yet we fail on this) located a bit further away from the school structures.