The days of hiding quietly in a room, waiting to be rescued from a gunman are over.
Strongsville police are now training teachers and school staff -- and the public in general -- how to stand up to a shooter in a building, if no other choice is available.
"You have options," Deputy Chief Mark Fender told about 50 staff members at Kinsner Elementary School last week, the fourth Strongsville school to receive active shooter training.
Fender encouraged teachers to have a plan, starting with how to evacuate kids to safety. If that's not possbile, hide the children in a classroom and barricade the door with desks and chairs and call 911.
Then a twist: Find something to use as a weapon and position yourself at the door, ready to attack.
"These shooters are not expecting anything but sheep," Fender said. "You're not sheep. You're the sheepdogs."
Authorities have found most shooters have something in common: They play video games, where they're in total control, gunning down helpless victims.
"Forget the victim mindset. You become the predator," Fender said.
Even yelling "gun" can surprise a shooter into pausing, giving you a chance to take action. Throwing something at him, swarming him, even grabbing the barrel of his gun are other options.
"Fifty percent take their own lives when they see or hear police, because they can't deal with confrontation," Fender said.
The new training "gives teachers permission to fight," he said.
Fender had sixth-grade teacher Scott Schlosser enter the room with a laser gun and pretend to shoot while his colleagues stood by, frozen with shock. He fired at least 10 rounds.
Then he had Shlosser re-enter, but this time, the teachers were armed with books and other items to throw at him, and screamed when he came in. That time, he fired one round -- into the floor -- before he was tackled.
School Buildings are Safe
Police are assessing each Strongsville school building and have good news: Most bullets won't go through a classroom wall or door.
In fact, they also won't go through a typical backpack. Police shot rounds into a bag and found that each time, the bullet went through one book, but was stopped by the second.
Tables, meanwhile, are poor protection. A typical table can stop only the smallest caliber rounds.
Not Today, and Not in My House
Sure, you'd be scared to encounter a gunman in a school or at the mall. But Fender said that if you have a plan, you won't freeze and become a victim.
Instead, feel outrage. Instead of cowering and waiting to be shot, face the situation with an "I can do this" attitude.
Don't take unnecessary risks, of course. Escape if you can. But if you can't, summon up your inner warrior.
"You've got to think, 'How dare you,'" Fender said. "Not in my house. Not today."