Earlier this year, Mike Taylor ’86, a former police officer, NCIS agent, and prosecutor’s detective, joined forces with Glenn Stanton, a former FBI agent, to create Point:Safety Education, a proactive and reactive training program that prepares teachers and school personnel to deal with potential violent threats in their school.
Through Point:Safety Education, Taylor and Stanton use their skills and experiences to provide tips to educators on how to assess, react, and manage a violent scenario in their school.
“It’s a flight or fight thing,” Taylor said. “If you have no other option than to fight, we teach use of concealment and use of cover.”
The duo held its first seminar in early March. Teachers from Piscataway, Hamilton, and Toms River attended. “It was very well received,” Taylor said. “We’re still tweaking a few things, but it’s a very informative and comprehensive program.”
In addition to running seminars for individuals, Point:Safety has also performed active shooter drills—with safe train weapons that do not fire—at Mercer County schools, including the Peddie School. Taylor and Stanton have also been in touch with Notre Dame High School (in Lawrence) and were recently recommended to the Elizabeth School Board by the city’s police department, according to Taylor.
On top of dissecting what can be done in the classroom if a shooter enters, the program also teaches the school’s faculty and administration how to describe a threat when calling it in to local police. Stanton introduced SWAT terminology to the program that details how to label sides of a building as well as openings, which include doors and windows.
“Our training has bits and pieces of defensive tactics, firearms training, SWAT, and hostage recovery tactics,” Taylor said. “We even go in and talk to them about police emergency response to help them get a good emergency plan in place.”
While the program is only in its infant phase, Taylor and Stanton have high hopes for the future of this kind of training.
“We both believe in this,” Taylor said. “We really think it’s something that’s needed and something that’s necessary. I even think we should reach out to colleges and say this should be part of a teacher’s training before they get their degree. We should let [future teachers] have this knowledge to protect themselves and the children if this stuff happens.”