In response to mass shootings at schools, many school districts have adopted active shooter drills as a way to prepare for such occasions. To those who implemented the idea, it probably made a lot of sense. The idea of practicing the response for not just the students but also the police and the district itself sounds perfectly reasonable.
However, there are issues with such drills. A number of them.
So much so that gun control activists, among others, are calling for an end to such drills.
The nation’s two largest education unions and a gun-control nonprofit are recommending that schools stop holding active-shooter drills.
The groups say they’re concerned that such drills traumatize students and staff and could hinder children’s academic performance.
School-shooter drills are routine across the United States: about 95% of public school districts regularly hold active shooter drills, NPR reported. Some states require schools to do so.
But there’s little evidence that these drills help prevent deaths during active shootings, according to a white paper released Tuesday by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Everytown for Gun Safety (Everytown), an anti-gun advocacy organization financed by democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, joined the unions in releasing the report.
Instead, the organizations argue, these lockdowns may contribute to students’ anxiety, cause sleeplessness or drum up fear or past trauma.
“Mental health professionals have begun warning about the effect of these drills on students’ well-being and about the possible short- and long-term consequences on school performance and physical and mental health,” the organizations wrote. The white paper does not include research on active-shooter drills or their effectiveness, but the National Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Resource Officers said in 2014 that these drills can cause harm if they aren’t “conducted appropriately.”
Well, my son went through an active shooter drill last school year, his final year of high school. How traumatized by the event was he?
He made fun of it.
No, seriously. He and his friends recognized that if there were a mass shooting, the odds were it would be someone from the school…someone who just saw what the response was and would plan accordingly.
Honestly, that’s why I actually oppose these things. It’s only a matter of time before a would-be shooter studies the response and uses those drills against the school and their classmates.
Claiming that it creates trauma and psychological problems for students suggests that kids today need to be made more antifragile. How would today’s teens have survived the tornado drills of my youth, much less the nuclear attack drills of my parents’?
So, it seems that for once I sort of agree with Everytown on something. I actually agree when they say staff should be trained, but not the students.
I just happen to agree for very different reasons and I think their reasons are absolutely idiotic. Then again, their reasons for almost everything else they propose are idiotic, so it’s not like this is groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination.