With back-to-school time approaching, have you ever thought about whether bugging out from school was something that your kids should know how to do?
A few years ago, I posed the question, “Should Your Kids Know How to Bug Out from School?” and the answers to that question were incredibly varied. Some parents said that the kids shouldn’t be in public schools in the first place., which, of course, was beside the point of the question. Others said that they absolutely had a plan in place for their children. Still others said that the very idea was irresponsible and that kids should be under the supervision of a responsible adult, particularly in an emergency situation.
What this says to me is that each situation is unique. A lot of your decision depends on your child, their ages, the faith that you have in your local school system, your location, and the most likely threats in your area. You’ll have to put a great deal of thought into this before creating a plan with your kids.
In this particular article, I’d like to put aside the homeschool vs. public school epic rap battle and just focus on kids who are in schools outside the home.
Why would your kids be bugging out from school?
In a world where kids are being constantly immersed in a culture of fear and school officials are becoming more authoritarian by the day, it is a very real concern that a lockdown could occur and you wouldn’t see your children again until they were released at the discretion of those in charge at the school.
There are all sorts of practice runs guaranteed to traumatize kids into submission, including live shooter drills and evacuation drills. In the latter, the children are unexpectedly and quickly herded onto buses and sent to an alternate location. (Michael Snyder gave numerous examples of situations in which schoolchildren were put on buses and sent to alternate locations without parental consent.).
During these drills kids are not allowed to phone their parents and parents are not even allowed to know where their children are in many cases. In some incidences during which the school forewarns parents about the drill, the parents are told that they cannot pick up their children “for any reason” during the drill. Many schools now boast of having supplies to keep children at the school for 48 hours in the event of an “emergency” during which time the children will not be released to their parents.
And it gets even worse. In the name of predictive programming, do you recall a “drill” during which the police took over a school and practiced fighting “angry parents”? I’ve been plenty annoyed at different schools my daughter has attended, but in no way have I been compelled to attack the school, requiring SWAT teams to defend it against me and my band of likewise irate moms. (source)
This stuff doesn’t just apply to kids in the public school system. Very rarely is a parent with a child 100% of the time, every day of the year. Home-schooled kids go on outings with other families, go to church functions, and attend enrichment activities. Whenever your children are not with you, a plan needs to be in place for their safety.
For the record, this is also not just about defying perceived authority. Another scenario could be a major disaster during which your children find themselves without a responsible adult to turn to. Would they have the skills, supplies, and ability to get home or to a safe meeting place?
Is your child mentally prepared to bug out?
Each parent knows their own child the best. Not all kids are mentally equipped for a bug-out situation. If you feel that your child would panic, or your children are very young, this may not be a viable plan for your family.
If your kid is the independent, competent sort, then it may be time for a discussion on determining a plan for when and how to bug out from school.
If, out of the blue, the teachers just tell students to get on a bus, and there is no compelling reason for them to be doing so, it might be time for your child to use his or her own judgment on whether boarding that conveyance is actually a good idea.
This decision has to be based on factors that will be different for every household. Ask yourself these questions when developing a school bug-out plan.
- Does your child have good judgment? If your kid is the type that is prone to panic and poor decisions, this might not be the best plan. But if you have a level-headed youngster who has a grasp on the reasons why they would need to bug out, it’s definitely worth a discussion.
- How does your child know when it’s time to leave? A degree of stealth is necessary to get away undetected. As well, not all situations require such drastic measures. You may feel, as a parent, that certain adults are more trustworthy and will be looking out for the best interests of your children.
- What about younger siblings? If there are younger siblings at the school, your older children will need to plan how to connect with them.
- Should older kids abort the bug-out if they can’t connect with the younger ones? A decision should be made ahead of time whether or not older children should stay with their younger siblings in the event that everyone can’t make their escape.
- Where are your rally points? You need to set up a primary and secondary rally point where you’ll meet your kids. This should be within a couple of miles of the school, and it should be in a place where your children can stay hidden from the main road. The plan should always be to go to the primary rally point, but if for some reason that is unsafe or unaccessible, there should be a secondary rally point that is reached by a different route. Creating a specific route to rally points is vital so that you know where your child will be if you need to find them before they arrive at the meeting place.
- How will your child get to the rally point? It’s time for your own drills. Practice getting there from the school. If possible, for reasons of safety and stealth, develop a route that does not use the main road to take them there. Hike or walk this route with your child until they are completely comfortable with it.
- In what situations should kids abandon the bug out plan? There are some situations in which evacuation is very necessary. For example, some places are prone to forest fires and you wouldn’t want your child out on foot in such a scenario. If the school building were to collapse, it’s obvious the children would be relocated to a safe shelter. This is the point at which your child’s judgment comes into play. It is vital to discuss different scenarios in which evacuation is necessary.
How to build a bug out bag that won’t get your kid expelled
If your kids may be bugging out from school, it is also important for them to have the proper gear to take off on foot, as well as the ability to use all of it. You need practice things like filtering water when you’re together in order for a young person to feel confident doing so.
Creating a school-appropriate kit can be tricky, however, since schools are prone to hysteria regarding anything that might be considered a weapon. “Zero tolerance” makes for a very restricted selection of items.
- A hiking pack (When my daughter attended a charter program, she kept a teeny tiny fold-up hiking pack in the bottom of her school bag – it’s lightweight and will allow the user to keep her hands free on a long hike.)
- Comfortable weather-appropriate footwear (Leave a pair of winter boots, sneakers, etc., at school instead of carrying them back and forth every day)
- Water filtration bottle (This all-in-one is inexpensive and easy to use, and this personal filter can be used with any water container )
- At least one full water bottle, but preferably two
- Snacks like granola bars or energy bars (I rarely advocate packaged foods, but Clif Bars are made with pretty good ingredients, taste yummy, and are very filling)
- Weather appropriate clothing (snow gear, light hoodie, gloves, hat for sun or warmth)
- A fire-starter that won’t get them in trouble – this FireSteel also has an emergency whistle
- Space blanket – This kind is better quality and won’t rip as easily as the dollar store kind. It can be used for warmth or as a makeshift shelter should your child be caught outside overnight.
- First aid kit (band-aids are a must for potential blisters) Check out these instructions for a mini-kit in an Altoids tin
- Extra socks – dry socks are vital if your child ends up having to walk a long distance or in bad weather
- Communications – I hate cell phones with a passion. I really do. However, if your child is in school much more than a mile from home, this is a quick link between you assuming that systems are still working. If you have a rally point where you can hide a small cache, consider putting a two-way radio there if it is within the range of home. Check out this excellent piece on family communication plans.
- A long-lasting mini-flashlight – nothing is scarier than being caught in complete darkness.
- A survival guide – my kids each carry this one and have for years. It has a broad range of information and can serve as a reference in a variety of situations
Remember, personal defense is frowned upon
If you think your child is mature enough to bug out from school, chances are you also believe he or she possesses the common sense to own personal defense items without accidentally shivving a classmate. However, schools tend to have a different opinion on this topic. Things like multi-tools, matches, lighters, or self-defense items are frowned upon and can result in enormous trouble from a “zero-tolerance” school system” that seems unable to differentiate between a tool and a threat. These are things you must take into consideration when choosing items for the emergency kit, and you have to weigh the pros against the cons.
Only a few options exist that won’t get your child kicked out of school and served with felony charges by the overzealous “justice system.” The key is adaptability. If your child finds himself or herself in a survival situation, a little skill for improvisation can help.
In a pinch, everyday objects can be pressed into duty for self-defense. To name of few items typically found in a classroom or a schoolbag:
- A ballpoint pin
- Heavy objects
- Any type of aerosol spray (hair spray, spray deodorant, etc.)
While these are far from the best self-defense items, they can be effective if wielded correctly. Some of these items can be kept in a locker or backpack and appear quite innocent until they are needed. Getting your children trained in something like Krav Maga can be an even more effective way to teach them to protect themselves, and that is something that can’t be taken away by an overzealous educator.
In the name of some Self-Defense Arts and Crafts, my friend Gray Wolf (check out Gray Wolf Survival) told me about the Millwall brick. A very effective bludgeon can be created from a newspaper. This video shows you how to make one from a magazine.
Talk to your kids
Whatever your feelings are about kids bugging out from school, these subjects can still bring up discussion points. Talk to your children. Make up scenarios and say, “What would you do if…?” Brainstorm and discuss things to help them build a survival mindset.
What do you think? Do you want your kids to bug out if they are away from home when an emergency strikes? Have you developed a plan?