Mason students and faculty help guide school security by participating in active shooter simulations

Last August, George Mason University faculty and students participated in a series of virtual simulations of school shooter incidents as part of an effort to help the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  and MITRE Corp. determine best practices for school safety. As a result, DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency recently released an after-action report recommending ways to protect and increase survival rates of students and staff in such situations.

Stephanie Dailey, assistant professor of counseling in the College of Education and Human Development and Kathryn Laskey, professor of systems engineering and operations research in the Volgenau School of Engineering, were the faculty leads on the project. The simulation experiment (SIMEX) was set in a virtual high school environment modeled after designs in current suburban schools supporting about 1,000 students. Mason faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, and outside educational professionals played the roles of teachers and students. Outside organizations provided school resource officers and administrative personnel.

During the two-week simulation, participants ran through scenarios in which there were different conditions, such as the absence or presence of a school resource officer or manually versus automatically locked classroom doors.

Full story by Anna Stolley Persky posted April 27, 2021 can be found at