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 Rossford Ohio bus hijacking event
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coolbuskid
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2013 :  01:06:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
http://www.abc12.com/story/23136375/school-bus-hijacking-drill-take-place-in-rossford

I have seen a disturbing story out of Rossford, Ohio. I am not sure who is directly responsible, but it is reported that "officials" in this Ohio town subjected a bus carrying high-school students and older adults to an unannounced "drill" that left the passengers restrained in their seats with what appear to be handcuffs and tape, threatened with harm and generally terrorized. In what looked like an episode of The Twilight Zone, a large group of school employees watched the terror unfold on a projection screen, as if the town's children were reduced to the status of animal subjects for a behavioral study.

As the bus reportedly has its tires blown out, and an explosive sounds before the "swat" team moves in, the screams of what sound like the confined passengers are heard on the videotape.

Rossford's school transportation director, Jeff Culler, claims that everyone in the audience will take something away from this event, learning that this could happen on their bus. He goes on to say that they wanted to make this exercise as realistic as possible, because a driver wouldn't know that the attacker was on the bus.

The kids did not agree to this, and their parents could not agree to subject them to this criminal treatment even if they did sign a permission form to that effect. There's false imprisonment, kidnapping, brandishing a firearm, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, making terroristic threats, and perpetrating an act of terrorism. Instead of these possible charges being examined, applause is heard as the crowd disperses. Those bus riders became victims in a mock attack that one kid says felt all too real, and they weren't even being compensated for their time as unwilling subjects.

So, what did they learn? One victim on the bus says that the lesson is to just do what the hijacker says and stay calm. That's how 9/11 went bad for New York and Virginia. They also learned that "government" will be able to swoop down and save everybody, so just do what you're told and nobody gets hurt. This is the wrong message to be sending as an example.

Taking only what appears on the videotape, the gunman had gained control of the passengers through restraints and the threat of deadly violence, and had blocked the escape through the front by handcuffing what looks like a scared kid to the adult rider across the aisle. If the attacker had then realized that he needed to do something before help arrived, he would have made his demands quickly and possibly been able to kill everyone on that bus if his demands had not been met.

The reality is that once the attacker has taken away the ability of the passengers to resist or escape, there's little to no negotiation possible from inside the bus because he has turned the passengers into defenseless prisoners. Hostages taken by a determined attacker will likely become casualties, especially once the attacker feels that he's not getting what he wants and is backed into a corner, and that is an important lesson to be learned.

Training for worst-case scenarios is best done together, with everyone involved and participating in the educational process. Kids, parents, teachers, emergency personnel, and instructors should be going through procedures together so that everyone knows what to do. From bus evacuations to tornadoes, from earthquakes to bombings, and from hijackings to medical emergencies, everyone who is old enough to participate should be in the same room and on the same page as everyone else. Consistent and global training mitigates panic and complacency. Some good advice about how to deal with hijackings was given recently in this article:

http://www.schoolbusfleet.com/Channel/School-Bus-Safety/Articles/2013/04/Preparing-for-the-threat-of-hijacking.aspx

As a driver, what would you have done if a man on your activity bus had donned a mask, pulled out a gun, told the kids to put their heads down and their wrists across the seatbacks in front of them, and then proceeded to restrain the hands of the kids and chained together the kid and adult rider in the front so that the aisle was blocked?

As a bus rider, I have given some consideration as to what I would have done as the situation grew further out of control. If I had been on that bus, it is very likely that the masked attacker would now be severely injured or dead. I've taken the training for dealing with airplane violence and applied it to buses, and I would have been willing to use deadly force to protect those kids from what appeared to be a kidnapping or terrorist attack.

A problem that I've cited in my report about bus violence is that most school transportation routes don't have anyone who is able to do anything except wait for help or further instructions, and that problem extends to public mass-transit from buses to commuter trains to airplanes. The few that do are far too rare, the ones on which kids grab the wheel after the bus driver slumps over in his seat, or the bus that has the kid who wrestles a gun away from another student, or the alert passenger on a plane who intervenes when he sees an odd passenger trying to light his underpants on fire.

After 9/11, the lesson learned was that sitting quietly only makes things worse; mental preparation and guided training can go a long way towards turning a potential disaster into a recoverable incident. Instead of scaring kids and parents into just doing what we're told and waiting for a miracle to happen, we need to do more to engage students and the community, to address together the potential threats and reasonable steps to mitigate those threats against our schools and buses.

Carp_26
Administrator

United States
158 Posts

Posted - 08/16/2013 :  6:02:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You do get the whole point that this was a staged drill that took a few months to plan? I'm certain this experience was beneficial for all involved. What's a shame in the whole situation is that in today's society we need to practice events like this. I think of how safe I felt growing up and going to school, riding the bus, playing in my neighborhood, etc. I would never have thought of a classmate bringing a gun to school or on the bus and shoot when I was young. But today this is the reality, and districts must give students the tools they need to prepare for situations that could happen. I applaud the district for providing such a training.
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coolbuskid
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 08/19/2013 :  2:24:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Carp_26

You do get the whole point that this was a staged drill that took a few months to plan? I'm certain this experience was beneficial for all involved. What's a shame in the whole situation is that in today's society we need to practice events like this. I applaud the district for providing such a training.



An exercise is supposed to encourage participants to practice what they have learned. In this situation, the participants did not know what was happening, they had not received training and were not told that at some point they would be subjected to this incident, and some admitted that they were scared by what they saw and learned nothing except to just do whatever the hijacker says to do. That's bad, and wrong on several levels.

Subjecting innocent victims to violence and terror is never a good plan, and we may not know for years if one of these young victims has suffered from some sort of post-traumatic stress and goes off the deep-end one day in school or elsewhere. If I were the adult in the front of that bus, I'd be suing for emotional damages from having to console myself and a kid who may have thought that he was going to die while being chained to me on that bus, and moving to file charges against those responsible for doing this. Like the news announcer said, emotions were running high on that bus. You bet, and the people responsible for causing the incident should not be excused from civil and criminal liabilities.

A bus driver probably wouldn't want to start the first week of school by pretending that there is a fire on the bus, pulling off to the side of a road, having blocked one or more of the emergency exits, generating some smoke and flame, and seeing how quickly all of the students can get out. Likewise, the government shouldn't be staging false events and using them for entertainment at the uncompensated expense of those involved, especially when the most of those participants are juveniles who may have sustained emotional and physical injuries as a result of being restrained and scared into submission.

Although it is possible that the parents knowingly signed a Field Trip Permission Form that suggested that their kids would be subjected to this incident, a parent cannot agree to subject a juvenile to illegal treatment. In a Scared Straight program, a juvenile who is considered an at-risk youth by a court is subjected to confinement in jail, under an agreement between the parents, the juvenile, an attorney or other family advisor, and a judge in the juvenile court. In this situation, the juvenile is incarcerated under constant supervision by people who understand that the juvenile is at-risk, and he is made fully-aware of the situation. In contrast, the parents cannot decide that their kid is at-risk, assault him as he comes home from school, restrain his hands, threaten to kill him, and lock him in a room until he agrees to certain demands.

I am frankly disgusted by the way that this was staged and handled in Rossford. In addition to the emotional distress, false imprisonment, and incited terror, the lessons learned by the unwilling participants were all wrong, and those who watched the entertainment on the viewing screen probably also learned the wrong lessons.

If I were to extend the Rossford situation to its likely conclusion, the passengers on that bus would all be dead, because I would have started killing them as the walls closed in, and I would have killed the driver and rammed the bus into something to take myself out. That's what a terrorist is likely to do when they realize that they have no way to escape. There is likely to be no happy ending, and any negotiation and resistance is going to be done by the driver and maybe the passengers, as has been seen in documented incidents of real bus violence, not by some masked "swat" team from the government that waits in a pre-planned parking location to blow out the tires and rush in to save everyone while the terrorist just stands there behind all of the hostages and gives himself up.

I've put together a booklet of bus attack scenarios, and almost all of them are fatal. In some situations, the bus can be made to silently go off-route, and it can be many miles away by the time anyone figures out that it's missing. Unless the terrorist act is seen early enough from outside by responsive third-parties, or when there is a stand-off situation that has the terrorists standing and negotiating in plain view through the windows while everyone else is seated and ducked down, the only buses that survive are when the passengers and driver don't just do what they're told, and they either negotiate or fight back. That, not a "swat" team waiting for the bus to arrive on the other side of the district, is the best hope of a stand-down and survival.

It is sad that anyone would need to think about training for a bus hijacking scenario as I have, but I do it because there is a remote possibility of a state-sponsored attack on the transportation infrastructure. The chances of a terrorist actually getting on a school bus and hijacking it to any level of success is quite low indeed. It is actually more likely that there will be a successful bomb explosion, and much more likely that a bus will be involved in a fatal vehicular collision.

It is important to discuss the possibilities of an attack in order to prevent panic and unnecessary submission, but also to assure students that their bus is much more likely to be involved in a collision than to be boarded by a terrorist who is intent on killing them. Learning to sit properly and use seatbelts, and learning how to evacuate without trampling each other, does more to improve safety on a daily basis than to be taught to fear a terrorist attack. Still, it's that small percentage of the riders who can be taught to make a difference in an emergency, whether its suspicious man donning a mask or a driver suffering from heart failure. Teaching students to react appropriately for an emergency situation can save the day when the regular adults are incapacitated.

Note also that a kid with a gun in school or on a bus or train is not a threat as is a state-sponsored terrorist with a gun or a bomb. A kid is confused, or maybe upset about being bullied, or maybe high on some drug, but he's still a kid who probably just wants some love and attention. A robber wants money or property, an angry parent wants to get even with the driver or a student, and a kidnapper wants to take a vulnerable child; these perpetrators have a goal that may not involve murder, and the situations that they instigate can often be handled through de-escalation and verbal negotiation. A state-sponsored terrorist is willing to kill everyone on and around the vehicle while achieving a political aim. It is important to distinguish the different types of threats.
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misterbill
Advanced Member

United States
302 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2013 :  09:13:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by coolbuskid






As a driver, what would you have done if a man on your activity bus had donned a mask, pulled out a gun, told the kids to put their heads down and their wrists across the seatbacks in front of them, and then proceeded to restrain the hands of the kids and chained together the kid and adult rider in the front so that the aisle was blocked?

As a bus rider, I have given some consideration as to what I would have done as the situation grew further out of control. If I had been on that bus, it is very likely that the masked attacker would now be severely injured or dead.


I like to think that I would try to protect the kids, but I'm not sure how I would really react. Most people who commit such crimes do it in a place where they know that no one(like on a bus)has a gun, or they wouldn't try it. ie most shootings are done in gun free zones.

quote:
Originally posted by coolbuskid




They also learned that "government" will be able to swoop down and save everybody, so just do what you're told and nobody gets hurt. This is the wrong message to be sending as an example.


The Bible says to honor the police, I heard a crazy old preacher who used to be on TV say "You are not going to honor him if he rapes your 15 year old daughter." Sometimes we need to use our brains instead of just following what we are told.



High School Friend-"Hey! How are you! Well, I guess you can't be doing too well, you're driving a school bus."

Edited by - misterbill on 08/20/2013 09:16:21 AM
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ChiefGoss
New Member

1 Posts

Posted - 08/20/2013 :  12:42:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit ChiefGoss's Homepage  Reply with Quote
This was a well-planned training exercise in which all participants (children and bus driver included) knew well in advance that they were participating in a training exercise to prepare for such an event to take place - which is very possible in our world today.
Each student and participant signed waivers that acknowledged their participation in this training. Unfortunately, some of the information released to the media portrayed this as an event in which police and school officials took advantage of innocent children who had no idea that this was a mock incident. This is not true. As stated previously, EVERYONE was well aware that this was a training exercise for school personnel, students, law enforcement and the public.
The Rossford Police Department is very proud to be part of a community that prepares for such incidents, even though we hope we never encounter them. Our proactive approach to counter-terrorism, active killers and other such incidents hopefully will save lives in the future...especially the lives of our children.
Please feel free to forward this message along to all of those who have found it necessary to chastise this training exercise without first asking questions and gathering facts - as your information is wrong. You may also want to note that today (August 19th) was the first day of school and the day of the training exercise was last Wednesday (August 14th) so we would have no children riding buses other than for this training exercise in which they voluntarily participated in.
I would also like to share with you that the youth pictured on the website is the son of a Sheriff's Dispatcher who, again, was well aware of the training.

This message is meant for the many people who misunderstood the information regarding this training exercise who believe that the little children had no idea that this exercise was about to take place on their school bus. Every student (ages 17 & 18 - High School Seniors) signed up to be part of the training. No live ammunition was used during the event. I can understand how one might have thought the police stormed a bus on the way to school without advising the children or parents, but again - this is simply a misunderstanding. The students did not know all of the details, bit by bit, as to what might take place during the exercise, but they were well aware that they too were actors for the scenario. I hope that this information helps in clarifying any confusion as I have received multiple emails regarding how outraged some people across the country are - believing that the police would pull a stunt on unsuspecting children. Again, that was not the case here. We love our children more than to ever do such a thing to them. I have noticed that anti-government and anti-police blogs and websites are portraying this event as police terrorizing kids in the name of safety, but the Rossford Police and our neighboring law enforcement agencies that took part in this training exercise would not and do not operate in such a manner. EVERYBODY was well informed as to what was about to take place. Lastly, school started August 19th, this event took place on August 14th - no children would be riding a bus to or from school during the time of this exercise...they were on the bus voluntarily to participate as actors for training. Thank you for your understanding and support
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coolbuskid
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2013 :  9:13:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ChiefGoss

Each student and participant signed waivers that acknowledged their participation in this training. Unfortunately, some of the information released to the media portrayed this as an event in which police and school officials took advantage of innocent children who had no idea that this was a mock incident. This is not true.




I find this interesting in the face of what is known to be frequent misreporting and outright deception by the mainstream media. I must withdraw what I said about criminal acts against these participants in view of this new information about their willing participation. Still, the statements on the videotape indicate that there was indeed some confusion as to what was going on, and I would not discount emotional scars cropping up later as they did from some similar confining experiences that I had inside my high-school.

Whoever set up the media relations did a lousy job of relaying accurate information, and all of those who were interviewed on-camera made the assumed inaccuracies even worse. If it looks bad, it probably is bad, especially considering some of the insanities from public school administrators against students, teachers, and bus drivers. I did get some clue that the few smiling kids had figured it out and weren't really that scared, but when I heard their interviews, I again grew concerned.

Despite relying on media reporting as a substitute for going out there to do interviews, I still don't like what I saw on the videotape. I jumped on this issue primarily because I recognized the situation being played out on that bus, and I know that it's one of the worst situations to be in. The media did report that this was an activity bus, which is understood to be outside of normal school traffic, but even if the legal-adult participants agreed to something related to the final exercise, I feel that the organizers may have gone too far by involving participants who were not adequately prepared to participate in such an exercise.

Actors are supposed to be the most informed participants, because they provide the examples and situational feedback that others will learn from. Videotaping kids who are told to just go along for a scary ride is a bad way to learn how to deal with a hostage situation as a result of a state-sponsored attack or an ordinary criminal act.

Although this exercise could have had some practical value, I feel that the lessons learned were wrong, unless the intent of the attacker was not state-sponsored hijacking, and was instead supposed to be something like a known parent who had gone temporarily insane on a field trip. If the general plan is to just sit quietly and be cowed into submission by anyone with a gun, or a box cutter, I think that 9/11 can teach us what happens when passengers and drivers just sit quietly and believe the state-sponsored hijackers.

Exercises should involve everyone equally, to practice what has been learned in a practical demonstration. Whether bus evacuations for fires or a hijacking scenario, no participant should be kept in the dark while others watch their terror, those in the viewing area coming away with a lesson that this threat could be lurking around the corner, and that there are people waiting around the next corner to stop it.

I worry that what has been instilled is an irrational fear of a highly-unlikely event, while shunning the proven-ability to recognize a problem with a passenger before it becomes more serious. The likelihood of survival during a state-sponsored hijacking is very low, once the attacker has gained control of the vehicle and the passengers. There will likely be no rescue team waiting for the bus to arrive on a schedule, and the hijacker is not likely to just stand in full view with his hands up if the tires of the bus are blown out. Relying on logistical improbabilities occurring, while negating earlier means of negotiation and resistance, can lead to an even larger disaster as trainees learn to have an expectation of survival by cowering instead of learning what happened on 9/11 when the first reaction of the passengers was to just ignore the commotion and then do whatever they were told. There have been several examples of students pointing weapons on their school bus, only to be subdued by another student or a thoughtful driver. Inaction could have resulted in serious injury or death, and that's what we should be teaching to the general ridership. If you see something, don't just sit there and wait for something bad to happen!

I intend to continue teaching the lessons of 9/11, while emphasising that we should not live in fear of terrorism in any form. I believe that exposing kids to the kind of surprise violence seen in Rossford, violence against young people who may not be ready to accept the consequences of their actions and inactions, is not useful in the understanding of how to deal with similar disaster situations. It is likely that the same group of passengers and response team, exposed to a higher-order exercise without extended periods of planning and the benefit of knowing the status of the situation on the bus from the moment it began, would suffer a large number of casualties as a result of incorrect expectations and an inability to keep up with a moving situation.

The road to crisis is often paved with good intentions, and while the intentions of the people in Rossford may have been genuinely caring when they thought up this exercise, the advertised outcome, left unchecked, is likely to result in irrational fear and a greater potential for a crisis situation that goes bad. Rossford has now advertised this situation nationally by releasing the videotape as an example of what to expect, where before we understood bus hijackings as something more mundane and negotiable. The videotape never should have been put on the news, and the results of the exercise should have been discussed in private between the properly-trained actors and the relevant response personnel until a final preparedness report with training recommendations could have been released for wider distribution.

I believe that time and effort would be better spent practicing how to avoid traffic collisions, evacuate from a burning bus, get immobilized passengers out of their seats and through an emergency exit, teach passengers to recognize and respond to medical emergencies on a moving bus when the driver is initially unaware of the problem or unable to stop driving, learning to say something quickly when a strange face shows up on the bus or at the bus yard, and learning firearm safety and operation in the event that a passenger or driver needs to wrestle a gun away from a kid who's high on drugs or a madman intent on committing murder. Learning how to keep the muzzle of a gun pointed away from other passengers and unload it in a safe manner can prevent a tragedy, as can learning how to steer and park the bus in the event that the driver is incapacitated.
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2195 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2013 :  05:38:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
coolbuskid, you really need to get a hold of yourself. These are local law enforcement people doing what they are suppose to be doing, serve and protect. If this were a federal operation I might be right in there with you. You're just wrong and you're reading too much into this. Furthermore, the vast-vast majority of law enforcement are good, family oriented folks with the utmost respect for children and other vulnerable people in our society.

My hat's off to ChiefGoss. Keep up the good work. I just can't imagine facing the danger you & your peers face everyday.

Bryan
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coolbuskid
Active Member

34 Posts

Posted - 08/25/2013 :  10:50:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bwest

coolbuskid, you really need to get a hold of yourself. These are local law enforcement people doing what they are suppose to be doing, serve and protect.



I'm still upset because a serious vulnerability has been publicized deliberately. They could have played their game and kept it quiet, and without scaring kids who weren't trained actors, but instead they made a publicity stunt out of it. This should be held as an example of lessons not to learn and of an exercise badly managed.
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