Reflecting on the Rigby Middle School Shooting: 7 Lessons Learned

Reflecting on the Rigby Middle School Shooting: 7 Lessons Learned

Reviewing the After-Action Report Following the Rigby Middle School Shooting

In early May 2021, a sixth-grader opened fire at Rigby Middle School in Rigby, Idaho. Luckily, there were no casualties from the attack, and all victims physically recovered. As mandated by the Idaho School Safety and Security program, an after-action review was conducted in which both the attack and response from school staff were analyzed. 

The review determined that the school’s prompt action during the attack was mainly due to a well-planned emergency response protocol. While there is room for improvement, Rigby staff were previously trained on the district’s coordinated emergency response plan, and the preparedness is responsible for saving many lives. 

The report from the after-action review outlines seven key lessons learned and 29 sub-recommendations to improve future emergency responses. The lessons and recommendations can be used as a tool for any district looking to evaluate its emergency preparedness. 

The seven main lessons learned are summarized below. 

Seven Key Lessons Learned

  1. Preventing acts of targeted violence within K-12 schools requires means and methods for gathering information of concern, evaluating that information, and developing mitigation strategies based on the assessment of the behavior.
  2. Pre-planned coordination between schools and local response agencies is critical for a smooth transition between onsite response efforts and first responders arriving on the scene.
  3. Uniformly trained and exercised emergency response procedures result in fewer casualties during acts of targeted violence.
  4. Clear communication is necessary for effective response and is dependent on adequate procedures, training, and tools.
  5. Reunification plans consist of plans to reunite students with parents/guardians and document the transfer, forming the bridge between immediate emergency response and the beginning of the recovery process.
  6. The need for mental health support following a traumatic event can exceed the mental health capacity of a local school, district, or community.
  7. Physical site maintenance and logistical considerations after an act of violence require thoughtful planning to reduce additional trauma.

Vector Solutions Can Help You Prepare for Emergencies

One of the main themes of the report is that preparedness is the key to minimizing risk and reducing loss in emergency situations. Vector Solutions (formerly SafeSchools) offers both staff and student resources to help you train and prepare everyone for emergencies. 

We offer Emergency Management courses in the Vector Training Staff Safety and Compliance Library. Topics Include: 

  • Active Shooter
  • Crisis Response and Recovery
  • Threat Assessment
  • School Violence: Identifying and Addressing
  • Emergency Operations Planning: Building the Plan
  • Emergency Operations Planning: Implementing the Plan

Vector LiveSafe is a tip reporting and safety communications platform that gives staff and students the ability to submit anonymous tips, access emergency resources, and contact first responders via a silent panic alarm. Vector LiveSafe also features two-way communication, emergency broadcasting, and robust analytics reporting.

Contact us for more information