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Books, binders and bleed-control kits: How school shootings are changing classroom basics

When a student recently opened fire at a California high school, staff members did what they were trained to do. They shepherded students to safe spaces, barricaded doors, pulled shades — and, when gunfire struck, used techniques adapted from the battlefield to save lives.

The staffers used two bleeding-control kits in the Nov. 14 shooting in Santa Clarita, in which two students were killed and three injured before the gunman fatally shot himself, said Dave Caldwell, spokesman for the William S. Hart Union High School District. The kits, a recent addition to the district northwest of Los Angeles, are equipped with tourniquets, compression bandages and blood-clotting hemostatic gauze to prevent excessive blood loss.

Such kits have been pushed in school districts across the country. Georgia pioneered a statewide initiative to equip schools with Stop the Bleed Kits, for the 2017-18 academic year. This year, Texas, Arkansas and Indiana passed legislation to put them into schools. The Arkansas law requires public school students to be trained on the kits as part of the health curriculum to graduate.

Some gun control advocates say the efforts sap the political energy needed to reduce the actual violence. Most of the policies on bleeding-control kits have occurred in Republican-led states, where gun control may be especially unlikely to pass. Still, Democrat-controlled Illinois is among those to have picked up the campaign, with the Illinois Terrorism Task Force announcing in September plans to distribute 7,000 of the kits to the state’s public schools.

There is no statewide mandate for the kits in California. Rather, two students in the William S. Hart Union High School District took the initiative there.

Sisters Cambria, 15, and Maci Lawrence, 13, were worried about school shootings and natural disasters.

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