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Active Shooter Drills In Schools Could Be A Traumatic Experience For Kids, Say Experts

Active Shooter Drills In Schools Could Be A Traumatic Experience For Kids, Say Experts

Last year alone, 57% of teenagers confessed to researchers that they were worried about a shooting happening at their school.  About 63% of parents of teenagers were worried about a shooting taking place at their child's school.

As horrible as it sounds, mass shootings have become a commonality in America. Unfortunately, the schools have to now prepare for it. Just like fire drills, everyone in schools have shooting drills so that everyone - including the staff and student know how to react if an incident occurs. NPR reports that according to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly all public schools in the U.S. conducted some kind of lockdown drill between 2015-2016. Last year alone, 57% of teenagers confessed to researchers that they were worried about a shooting happening at their school.  About 63% of parents of teenagers were worried about a shooting taking place at their child's school.



 

However, many experts and parents are worried that these drills are complicating the issue further than actually solving it. Melissa Reeves, a professor at Winthrop University and former president of the National Association of School Psychologists spoke about these drills and how it could impact the psychological development of young children. "Schools are starting to do is to actually simulate what an active shooter situation would be like, which means they're having someone dress up pretending to be the active shooter," she said. 



 

"They're actually firing off blanks or they're actually using rubber bullets in some of the trainings that we have seen, which has some various concern[s] for many of us." She then spoke about instilling fear. "What they are also doing is they are scaring superintendents and administrators into thinking that they have to have these types of drills in order to be better prepared. I've heard some of them use the argument [that] if you don't do these kinds of drills, then everybody's going to freeze and they're not going to know what to do. And that couldn't be further from the truth."



 

She spoke about the psychological impact of the drill and said, "Well, what you're doing is you are creating a sensorial experience, which really heightens all of our senses. And what these drills can really do is potentially trigger either past trauma or trigger such a significant physiological reaction that it actually ends up scaring the individuals instead of better preparing them to respond in these kinds of situations. And there are actually examples of where these drills have been done very irresponsibly and they have traumatized individuals or have actually led to bodily harm."



 

However, she also offered an alternative solution to handle this. "What we can do is we can prepare our students and our staff members through lockdown procedures. And that is where you get behind a locked door, if possible, out of the line of sight. But we can do that in a way for which, first of all, we talk them through what it means to go into a lockdown and where should we be positioned in that room. And then we can practice that in a very calm manner."



 

"And the analogy that I use is we don't light a fire in the hallway to practice fire drills. When we're teaching stranger danger, we don't put a child on a street corner and have someone grab them and scare them. We are able to teach these things through ways where we talk them through it and then we walk them through it and they respond accordingly." if there is another way to help tackle the issue, then shouldn't that be adopted instead of putting so much pressure on the students?



 

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