Operation Innocence: Getting Serious About Protecting Our Kids in Schools

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/04/03/operation-innocence-getting-serious-about-protecting-our-kids-in-schools/

Late last month, we launched a task force called Operation Innocence.

Our mission is very simple and very clear — to protect our children in schools by activating the most able-bodied and able-minded individuals in America and implementing common-sense solutions to stop school shootings.

For two days, a group of leaders was locked in a room.  This team comprised a tremendous cross section of Americans – from combat-veterans-turned-entrepreneurs to educators … from law enforcement officers to your next-door neighbor.

But this is just the beginning of Operation Innocence – and it’s a mission where we are looking for all of YOU to help be a part of the solution.

I promised you all that I’d keep you updated on our progress and what came out of the summit.  So I want to share with you just a few of the elements we discussed.

1.  We are putting together a school certification program called “Operation Innocence Certified,” which will include a threat assessment for schools.

First and foremost – we know that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is either suicide … or a good guy with a gun. Yet our schools are “gun free zones.” THINK about this for a second.  If an off-duty police officer goes into a public school to pick up his child and encounters an active killer … and he pulls out his firearm to subdue the threat … he’s actually committed a felony. How does this make any sense to anyone? Gun-free zones do not stop bad guys any more than making drugs illegal stops people from using them … or making speeding illegal stops you from speeding … or making murder illegal stops people from killing. But the idea of arming every teacher is also ludicrous. So we’re working on proposing legislation that would at least provide an exemption or protection for emergency responders and good Samaritans.

2.  Next:  did you know that in many states, law requires protecting marijuana facilities with armed security and cameras? Yet we don’t want to implement the same level of protection for CHILDREN. As part of our threat assessment, we will look at how to better harden the targets to keep our kids safe.

3.  We have retired law enforcement officers who don’t need to pull a big salary or benefits who want to provide armed security in schools. USE THEM. They are our sheepdogs and they want to protect our kids. Why wouldn’t we clear a path?

4.  We have combat veterans who want to protect our kids. LET THEM. Many people have talked about Post Traumatic Stress. O.K. – understandable concern. So let’s address that and the funding gap. Let’s use the unused money in the GI Bill to implement a screening, training, and certification program to put our veterans back to work.

5.  Emergency communications are terribly lacking in many schools – which endangers our kids and our teachers. In the event of an emergency, if we can’t alert the police … and police can’t communicate with each other … precious moments and lives will be lost. We’ve got a team looking into how to enhance the communication.

6.  We have mandated fire drills. It’s time to replace them with a mandate that schools have active killer drills. Think about this – when was the last time a school burned down? But we train kids to all file out of the school together in a nice long line and gather in one place – a killer’s dream. This needs to change.

7.  Why aren’t we training teachers on life-saving techniques? How to stop bleeding. How to tie a tourniquet. CPR. These aren’t just skills that can save lives in an active killer situation – they can save lives in a variety of scenarios. And to anyone who would say “I’m a teacher, not a paramedic – I shouldn’t have to learn these skills”? Get out of teaching. You clearly don’t have the best interest of children’s lives at heart.

8.  Let’s talk about soft skills for a minute. Making eye contact. Shaking hands. Communicating with other kids and adults. We aren’t teaching it. … And we aren’t teaching teachers how to look for warning signs. If we want to stop the killings … we need to start younger. Did you know that the majority of killers in mass school shootings didn’t have a father in their lives? We need to start getting to these children earlier.

9.  We are so concerned about privacy that we’re not tracking threats. The way things stand right now, if you threaten to shoot up your school and you’re expelled but not charged … then move to a different state … and there’s no way for the new school to know about the threat THEY may be facing. There’s no database tracking these threats. There should also be mandated reporting by teachers and faculty about warning signs pertaining to threats.

10.  Think about “juvenile offenders” that have been arrested for violent crimes. Why don’t schools know about these? We need to start catching these threats EARLY.

11.  Next – thanks to the Communications Decency Act of 1996 – social media platforms aren’t responsible if a student makes a threat online … someone reports the threat … the social media giant does nothing about it … and kids are then killed. This piece of legislation needs to be revamped to start putting a certain amount of responsibility back on social media providers.

12.  Can we talk about the “if you see something, say something” program for a minute? As I have mentioned before … I’m the national spokesman for Law Enforcement Today and even I don’t know who to call if I see a threat online in another state. We need to look at revamping the program to provide very specific reporting capabilities to the general public along with a system to distribute and process the tips.

13.  Let’s talk about money for a minute. Ever hear of something called “prevailing wages”? To simplify what it means – look at it like this. The installation of a security system at a school might cost 50% more than it would at a business because of these “prevailing wage” laws. It’s ludicrous. Special interest groups are preventing security systems from being put in place at schools because they are packing in their own funding interests.

14.  There are many times that taxpayers in cities and towns will vote for money for security precautions … but that funding gets misallocated. We need to look at an unbiased community liaison in each city and town to make sure the money goes where it’s supposed to go.

15.  How many firearms are confiscated from drug dealers and in crimes? We should look at reselling these to emergency responders and putting that money into a fund to help implement some of these changes. And I don’t know about you guys – but I’m good dropping an extra five to ten bucks every time I buy a gun if I know every penny will go into a fund to help provide armed security to protect students.

16.  What about these first-person shooter games that kids are playing? Wouldn’t it be great if Gamestop or the video game manufacturers put a surcharge on the purchase of these games to fund early childhood development programs to prevent kids from becoming killers?

17.  And finally … you hear it every time there’s a school killing. “Where was your God when that killer was opening fire?” But we’ve kicked God out of our schools and our homes. We’ve removed the idea of “patriotism” and teaching values and ethics and faith. Perhaps it’s time we go back to what America was founded on and bring God back into our homes.

Guys – this is just the very beginning. Our task force is expanding on a state-by-state basis.  We’re looking for YOUR suggestions and ideas. We’re looking for volunteers and businesses that want to be on board.

We have four objectives:

To put together a comprehensive and strategic plan for school districts with meaningful processes that can be implemented immediately at little to no cost to protect students. 

To put together a series of bipartisan recommendations for our lawmakers. You may have noticed that there are no lawmakers on the task force. That’s for a reason. They’ve proven that they are unable to separate politics from protection … so we will do it for them. We are vetting the recommendations of ALL Americans … from executives and law enforcement to janitors and stay-at-home parents. Congress seems to be operating in a vacuum of thought leadership. We will fill that void with the power of everyday Americans.

To find the money.  From our perspective, it’s not enough to just present ideas … we are bringing to the table the funding to implement these ideas.

And finally:  to create a business consortium of companies and products focused on the security of our children … along with those who want to donate their time, talent, and treasures to help protect our kids.

If you or your business want to be a part of this … or you want to send us your ideas … visit www.protectingthekids.com and send us a message.  You can also sign up to stay up-to-date on how our task force is progressing.

And please – hit the share button.  Together, every American can be a part of Operation Innocence.

God bless our children and God bless America.


Kyle S. Reyes is the Chief Executive Officer of The Silent Partner Marketing, co-host of The Whiskey Patriots and the National Spokesman for Law Enforcement Today. Reyes is also an acclaimed keynote speaker on patriotism and leadership, entrepreneurship, and marketing by storytelling. You can follow him on Facebook.